Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cheap Girls - My Roaring 20's (Acoustic)

A few weeks ago Cheap Girls and Quote Unquote Records released an acoustic version of Cheap Girls' second album, My Roaring 20's. Unlike the acoustic version of Find Me a Drink Home (the debut Cheap Girls album), which was essentially just singer Ian Graham singing with an acoustic guitar, My Roaring 20's has more of a full arrangement feel to it. There are multiple guitars layered throughout the song, and all the additional instruments that were in the original versions of the songs (like that accordion part in "Sunnyside") (at least I'm pretty sure it's an accordion) are still present.

Structurally, My Roaring 20's (Acoustic) isn't a whole lot different than My Roaring 20's. The songs are played at a slightly slower speed to accommodate the fully fleshed out ring of the acoustic instruments, but they haven't gone under any huge compositional changes as some songs do when they make the shift from electric to acoustic. It might sound lazy, but Cheap Girls is the kind of band that writes songs that sound good when played with acoustic guitars. Graham's vocals have a quiet quality to them, and I've met people who feel that his singing style doesn't always mesh well with the band's more explosive sounding songs (not me, but when I saw the band open for The Gaslight Anthem back in November everyone in the group that I was with felt that way). But put that same singing voice over more laid-back versions of the same songs, and it's just perfection.

I suppose the true success of My Roaring 20's (Acoustic) really comes from whether or not fans like having the drums and electric guitars stripped away. To me, the songs on My Roaring 20's just sound like they were written to be played on an acoustic guitar: the soft tones of the guitars blended with Graham's vocals help to bring out their sadness. I'm curious to see if the band will ever release an acoustic version of Giant Orange. The songs on that one feel more structured for electric instruments (for the most part anyhow), and I think an acoustic take on those songs would be interesting.

But I digress. My Roaring 20's (Acoustic) is a solid release by fantastic band. You can "pick up" (download) a copy of it over at Quote Unquote Records. By the by, right as this album was released, bassist/vocalist Ian Graham went in for knee surgery and any and all donations or proceeds for the album go toward paying his medical bills. So if you've got a couple of bucks that you can afford to part with, I recommend helping him out.

Cheap Girls - My Roaring 20's (Acoustic)

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