Review: Drew Beskin – ‘Cha-Ching Machine’

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Drew Beskin has worn many hats. He’s been the frontman for the bands The District Attorneys, Party Dolls and PURSES, which have spanned Atlanta and Athens venues such as Smith’s Olde Bar and the Caledonia Lounge. He’s also been serving as the manager of the Georgia Theatre in Athens for the past few years. These days, however, he’s been working on a solo, self-titled project: an album entitled Cha-Ching Machine, out today.

Beskin teamed up with Chase Park Transduction (the Athens studio that’s been instrumental in bands like Drive-By-Truckers and Deerhunter) and is self-releasing the record on his own label, Laser Brains, with the help of This Is American Music. The 29-year-old recruited his fellow Athens creatives to make the album feel like one big jam session.

In February, he premiered the album’s first single, “Love Trauma,” with Pure Volume. Even though he considers the song to be “a silly song,” he admitted that it’s actually the one that “kind of brought the project together.” It was written in a mere five minutes the day before he went into the studio proving that sometimes the songs that simply happen end up being the best ones. It’s definitely a good introduction song for a new fan since it sets the tone nicely.

Last week, he premiered the second single, “Hair Metal,” with Paste Magazine where he described the song as accidentally becoming the “intense emotional climax of the album.” After taking a listen, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the complex (but well-balanced) sound the song emits.

Each song on Cha-Ching Machine is carefully constructed with melodies that are unique but still catchy enough to get stuck in your head. Stylistically, you can hear the ‘80s rock influence on the guitars and drums, making it a throwback album without losing its relevance.

When it comes to musical influences, the artist notes Elvis Costello, The Cure, The Smiths, Roy Orbison, Pavement, T. Rex, Beck (the Sea Change era) and Marshall Crenshaw.

The opening song, “Smile In Denial,” is an energetic track that pleas with listeners to “get up and lose control.”  From the kickoff, it’s clear we’re in for a good time over the next 10 tracks.

“I Don’t Know What To Do”–one of the deeper cuts on the record–starts off with a percussive piece that sets the groove for the next five minutes. On the heels of belting out the honest title lyric about confusion, Beskin pulls out his falsetto. It’s airy, beautiful and contrasts nicely with the rough-around-the-edges rock feel of the rest of the album.

Beskin’s token love song, “Eyes At Me,” is as sweet as it gets and passed my belting-in-the-car test beautifully.  Well done.

The album closes with “Save Your Thoughts,” making its entrance with a smooth synth and bringing in some vibey jazz elements as it builds.  An excellent closer.

Cha-Ching Machine is available now.  Have a listen, and then—if you’re an Athenian—head over to the Caledonia Lounge tomorrow, where Beskin will be playing an album release show, along with opening bands Chief Scout, Neighbor Lady and Blanko.

8/10

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