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album review: emphatically no. by cheekface

Cheekface returns in 2021 with their sophomore studio album Emphatically No. This power trio consists of Greg Katz (lead vocals/guitar), Amanda Tannen (backing vocals/bass), and Mark “Echo” Edwards (drums/percussion). As if anyone thought it would even be possible, this album is more sarcastic, satirical, and cheeky than their first. They pick up where they left off on “Therapy Island,” poking fun at the modern world and the ever-so-hilarious errors of human nature through a mix of post-punk and alternative rock. Cheekface’s stream of consciousness writing style is reminiscent of other songwriters like Courtney Barnett. Emphatically No. tells a wildly vivid story on every track.

Cheekface’s mix of college-type humor, everyday observations and existentialism in their lyrics are what set them apart. Lead vocalist Greg Katz knows how to deliver in a David Byrne-like manner. Emphatically No. has a plethora of memorable lines to recite. There are statements of awareness, like “I come from a long line of people who procreated” from track “Big Big Friend.” There are also statements of satire regarding social media behavior of the youth, such as “Let’s replace all of the vowels with asterisks” in “Emotional Rent Control.”

This album is classic Cheekface: catchy guitar hooks, chaotic solos, sonorous bass, and mellifluous drums and the chemistry is evident. It is pure, wholesome fun, with plenty of cowbell. This combination plus the album artwork of bassist and vocalist Amanda Tannen make this a quintessential Cheekface album. Emphatically No. is the album that listeners did not know they needed, but are ecstatic that they have. 

Listen to Emphatically No. here:

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