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June 21, 2024

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Run Better Run (Music Maniac Records, Antennestraat 74, 1322 AS Almere, Holland)


In the age-old tradition that disposability is a key element in the rock'n'roll equation, The Cheepskates were four New Yorkers who met in the early Eighties, plugged in, wrote some songs, played some shows, made some records, and then were gone, as quickly as they'd appeared, by decade's end. Remembered today, if at all, as the East Coast's leading exponents of the post-paisley, pre-grunge garage/pop ethic, the group's first album has just been re-issued, a dozen years after its initial release, and its high time each and every one of you out there now rediscover and/or re-assess this seemingly insignificant little classic. Like the debut albums of Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones (to name but three other classics), Run Better Run absolutely reeks, from start to finish, with the fire and intensity of a brand new band roaring cocksure through a brand new repertoire. That the tapes were running seems to be but an afterthought, yet what was captured, aside from all the usual nods in all the coolest musical directions (Raiders, Zombies, even some sooty surf-rock) is an element of devil-may-care, decorum-be-damned frivolity which would indeed serve this quartet well throughout its career. You can almost hear these guys laughing between - probably DURING - takes, struggling to keep the beat as the instruments slip out of tune and rattle to the studio floor. Boy, what a breath of refreshing air this record must've been at the time and remains today. Of course, as it does to all great bands, death came to The Cheepskates as the Nineties dawned, and today the foursome are duly scattered to the four winds (though Chief 'Skate Shane Faubert has still been known to fire up his Farfisa now and then in a rousing chorus of "Run Better Run"). Call this wonderful CD, if you must, a significant snapshot of sights and sounds long gone, but not for much longer forgotten.
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