When Charli XCX put her dream group, Nasty Cherry, together in 2018, throwing four strangers into an LA house with a camera crew for Netflix docuseries I’m With The Band, she wanted to create a gang that was “unashamedly human” and “badass”.
The glam-punks, made up of guitarist Chloe Chaidez, vocalist Gabbriette Bechtel, drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson and bassist Georgia Somary, nailed the latter from the off. Their first two EPs, 2019’s ‘Season 1’ and 2020’s ‘Season 2’, were stuffed with sassy Girls Aloud-meets-Sky Ferreira anthems of empowerment that painted the quartet as the coolest girls at the party. Yet the “human” part proved tricker. Sure, the band have so far blessed us with breezy, genuine bops such as ‘Brain Soup’ and ‘I Am King’, but true vulnerability has been thin on the ground.
Lucky, then, that third EP ‘The Movie’, which the band have said is about “friendships and relationships”, is their most nuanced effort yet. The song writing is sharper and goes deeper, with emotions on display that jut out a model’s cheekbones.
The five-track record was written in a month at the start of the pandemic, the first taste coming in the form of an Instagram clip that showed the band working with mentor Charli on an early version of ‘Her Body’. The song has developed into their best to date, if not a contender for track of the year. A lo-fi jam set to sultry, hazy synths, it charts the black hole you tumble into when you discover somebody as been cheating on you – the insecurity and the raw, even ugly, soul searching that follows, before you realise all you need is yourself. “How’s that working out for you?” Gabi asks cuttingly. “Jumping between two bedrooms?”
The rest of the material doesn’t hit the same ecstatic peak, but still lands with impact. “I know you get annoyed when I cry and now I’m calling for the hundredth time,” Bechtel croos uncertainly over gentle, breezy guitars on ‘What’s The Deal’, while on ‘All In My Head’ she’s yearning to return to the blissful early days of a relationship gone cold, when flaws are still masked by the thrill of whirlwind romance: “Hands on my waist and fingers running through hair / Yeah, I know that it’s all in my head.”
The EP ends on a high with closing track ‘Lucky’, a testament to ride-or-die sisterhood, the girls celebrating their friendship over sweet and spiky guitars, singing, “Even if burned at the stake / We’re holding hands through the flames” over drums that hammer like heart beats. Now that, three EPs in, Nasty Cherry have proved how potent they are over short spurts, we’re ready for that full-length.
Release date: April 2
Record label: Atlantic Records