Review: Cherry St. – Squeeze It Dry
Perris Records (September 23rd, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Perris Records presents us with another in the long line of “almost” bands that played the Sunset Strip in the late 80s and early 90s and never were able to capitalize on their local fame, running out of time when the music industry set its sights on the Seattle music scene. Their album ‘Squeeze It Dry‘ is a re-issue of their JRS/BMG release that sold a few thousand copies in their too little too late heyday.
If you are looking for a band in the Cinderella/Britny Fox mold, then this will certainly fit the bill. Some people might be bothered that singer Chris Van Dahl, the frontman of LA Guns in their notorious American Hardcore era, is involved with this band. I found his raspy voice to be much more suited to this type of material. Occasionally he reaches for highs outside his range and strains, particularly on tracks ‘Ring Around The Rosie’ and ‘Shake Down Sally’. His performance isn’t the greatest detractor for this album.
This is low grade by the numbers sleaze rock. It’s sure to have fans that love everything associated with this time period, but it’s easy to see why this band missed the boat. I have heard far better bands from this region and era that also did not find success. Something that may have held them back is how similar they sound to Cinderella and Britny Fox. Tracks like opener ‘No Doubt About’ and ‘Whisky’ sound like leftover tracks from those bands that were leftover because they were not good enough to make the cut. Britny Fox were already regarded by many as a clone of Cinderella, but since the guitarist use to be in Cinderella, there was an associative understanding. The scene certainly didn’t need a third band like that, especially at a time when both Cinderella and Britny Fox’s popularity were in decline.
Other songs just fall flat. Obligatory ballad ‘Sure Was Fine’ is dull, with the band sounding like they’re sleepwalking through the track. Van Dahl’s vocals are also not suited for this material. The aforementioned ‘Ring Around The Rosie’ has cringe inducing lyrics. The song ‘Cherry Street’ lacks energy, only coming to life briefly during the solo.
The only track I truly enjoyed was ‘Mary Goes Round’, a fun and sleazy rocker with the strongest arrangement. The melody is catchy, with an early Poison feel to it, and a chorus I can see a crowd shouting back to the band during their live sets. This album needed more of that vigor.
Some may not think this next part is a big deal, but I find stuff like this to be insulting to the listener. I am never a fan of interludes, especially in the age of digital streaming, but at least there is some attempt at interconnecting themes or setting up a change in an album, such as a transition into a ballad. There is an attempt by a band to construct material that sets a mood. With that said, there’s tracks on this album that are utter nonsense and serve no purpose than to pad an album and make it look like it has more music than it contains. Track 6’s ‘Ah!’ is a nine second drum fill with the band saying the title at the end. The only thing worse is Track 12’s ‘Ahhh!’ which is the same thing but thirteen seconds long. Pointless and ridiculous. I know it’s a re-issue, but it should have been left off this release.
Cherry St. is not the greatest representation of the Sunset Strip. If it’s being reissued, then it must have sold enough copies to warrant a demand. There’s certainly worse bands out there but if you have never heard of this band and are expecting some type of lost treasure, I suggest you check out the songs online first. This release lacks the passion and urgency that other bands mastered, and I feel your time would be better spent elsewhere.