They members of Cheap Time may not look like those of the glitter punk and glam rock bands that they claim to be inspired by, but their third LP, Wallpaper Music, with its mix of punk rock and powerpop, is the sonic child of the New York Dolls and the Stooges. The energy levels provided by the quick guitar riffs vary per song, but Cheap Time manages to provide a heavy dose of pure punk dirtiness. Most of this can be attributed to Jeffrey Novak’s voice and guitar playing, which has remained a constant throughout the band’s history, though there have been lineup changes with other members over the years.
The Nashville rockers open the album on a boisterous note with the rampant “More Cigarettes,” where the drumming, guitar and key playing come together to create a party. Things do not slow down until midway through, as tracks like “Hall Of Mirrors” and “Another Time,” in their lyrics about growing, maturing and realizing the truths about life, match the pandemonium of the reckless, bull in a china shop guitar riffs. “Take It If You Want It,” with its more mellowed-down beat, provides a buffer before things get crazy once again with the heavyweight guitar playing in tracks like “Witches In Stock” and the culminating “Underneath The Fruit Flies.”
Lyrically, Wallpaper Music is sometimes watered down behind the instruments, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear a guy singing about people who are still trying to figure out who they want to be. Novak doesn’t seem to have figured out his place quite yet, but he captures that awkward, in-limbo feeling: “So normal, yet so typically strange.”