“I wish when I was 14, there was a band like Nasty Cherry – unashamedly human, real and also badass.” So says Charli XCX in the opening episode of her new Netflix documentary I’m With The Band, a six-episode series that follows her protégés, Nasty Cherry, in their bid to become the next great pop behemoths.
In the show, we meet the four women, handpicked by Charli back at the start of 2019 to create the glam-punk band of her dreams: two Americans – vocalist and model Gabbriette Bechtel and scissor-kicking guitarist Chloe Chaidez – plus two Brits, Charli’s live drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson and bassist Georgia Somary.
So Nasty Cherry are a manufactured pop band, but they’re a million times cooler than anything the Simon Cowell factory line has ever churned out. Two of them were music newbies – Gabbriette had never sung before and Georgina hadn’t played a note of bass – but they quickly found their sound, a mashup of The Runaways and New Order, and their excellent debut ‘Season 1 EP’ sounds effortless.
Any questions of authenticity dissipated with the band’s first single, ‘Win’. Produced by Charli’s ride-or-die Justin Raisen (Angel Olson, Sky Ferreira), it’s a perfect slice of sassy Cali-pop, with shimmering synths cascading over wavering guitars and a shuffling bassline Haim would kill for.
It racked up thousands of streams within a week and set the tone of what was to come. ‘Music With Your Dad’, the opening track on this EP, is slick yet fun, built on the kind of booming bassline Charli employed herself on ‘1999’ and summer single ‘Gone’, while pouty ‘Fuck Modern Love’ is a sultry throwback with echoing ’80s drums and a rebel heart.
What’s most striking is that, although they’ve been an item for less than a year, this doesn’t sound like a band finding their feet. With Nasty Cherry, Charli XCX has done the seemingly impossible. Not only has she figured out how to capture attitude in a bottle; she’s also initiated the coolest of sisterhoods. Even in the documentary, when Nasty Cherry are chilling in their LA villa and mingling with Charli’s industry circle, we feel perfectly welcome in their gang.
‘Brain Soup’ is easily the best jam on here, underpinned by Prince-levels of funk and snake-hipped bass while Gab sings: “I got brain soup/ When I’m with you/ Been looking at your hair for so long.” It exudes a cool that’s always inclusive, never intimidating.
Towards the end of Nasty Cherry’s TV show, Georgina acknowledges that the band’s association with Charli XCX has been their “lucky fucking ticket”, but, Charli insists that she made the introductions and Nasty Cherry have done the rest. With just five songs clocking in at less than 15 minutes, ‘Season 1 EP’ is a short but juicy morsel. We can’t wait for the next bite.
- Release date: November 22
- Record label: November 22