Cheap Stuff – Kings & Pawns LP (Contra Records)

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Wow, these Dresden punk rockers have been treading the boards for many a year now, but this is only their third album in almost 15 years, and they celebrated their 20th anniversary back in 2018. Quality not quantity then – like a fine wine they prefer their sound to be bottled and matured over time. Let’s not go on too much about maturity on here, as the boys still have their feet firmly planted on the gas pedal as they crank out their old fashioned punk rock sound. One characteristic of Cheap Stuff is their use of woah-oh backing vocals which delivers a big singalong factor.

They flip easily between upbeat tunes that bounce along at speed, and dropping down to bring out the rock in punk rock. Also they aren’t afraid to experiment and mix things up a little. See the horn section on Hello Black Heart or the hammond organ on Good Girls, Good Boys for details. I could mention bands like Rancid or Bombshell Rocks, but for me Cheap Stuff have a lot more in common with some of the other German bands such as Madlocks, Strongbow or Cracks & Scars. If we think back to that fine wine that I mentioned earlier, well Cheap Stuff also have that style and flavour designed to be enjoyed and savoured, either at home on the couch or down the bar with your mates. Tom Chapman

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