Cheapskate - Knock Knock Knock
Owain Paciuszko 07/11/2010
Early this year I received a dazzling little CD/cassette LP release by one man band Cheapskate, he closes the year with a smaller - but no less perfectly formed - package; a free downloadable EP, so you've got no excuses.
Opening track Devonshire Cream is a slumberous little tune, a guitar line clambering sleepily alongside twinkling glockenspiel. There are echoey, mumbled spoken samples intermittently dispersed amongst the sung vocals, softly uttered and perfectly fitting the lyric; 'I'm spark out on the floor.' That's not to say this a dull song, just a track that feels like that hazy world just been waking life and dreams, it's a jazzy lucid ballad with a jazz-pop groove that's typical of Cheapskate's overall retro-Northern-psychedlic vibe.
Get Up Early increases the tempo ever so slightly, a wry tune about wanting to be a social creature versus having to be awake at the crack of dawn, it rattles on like an Aidan Smith number (fans of Smith's two debut EPs will be especially delighted with this record). Fancy has a chirpy organ-line reminiscent of vintage 60s pop-experimentalist Joe Meek, but fortunately Cheapskate can sing in tune and this track about fancying his boss's son's girlfriend is a humourous and bittersweetly affecting tune, that's as steeped in the slightly grumpy despondency of genuinely fancying someone you probably shouldn't try and have, but punctuated with enough witty wordplay and quirky production flourishes to keep it light and quirky. Vocally he even sounds oddly like Elliot Smith as he sings the wonderfully child-like lyric; 'Cause I'll eat you, put you in my bellyhole.'
There's a fitting continuation from the previous track into Woolton Roses as Cheapskate sings; 'I guess I'm gonna have to face it, if you don't want me I'm gonna have to fake it.' The track bounces along over a The Beach Boys-style pop strut, with typically Brian Wilson-style backing vocals, lending a joyous sense of defiance to the song. It draws to a rousing conclusion with a portly little brass line alongside the harpsichord-like melody, with Cheapskate repeating 'If you don't want me, then I don't want you too.'
His album Un Film Imaginaire was a wildly inventive and listenable treat, which suffered at the hands of a couple of slightly soggy tracks in its middle, this EP is a perfectly clipped and pruned record, sleepy love songs told with heart and humour. Go and download it for free from his website now!