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Cherie Currie -Blvds of Splendor (Blackheart Records)

15 April 2020

“I’ve never had so much fun making a record before. We all looked at each other and went, ‘Oh my God, there’s magic happening here” Cherie Currie 

Cherie Currie, the original Queen of Noise can turn her hand to most things. Acting, sculpting with a chainsaw, but what she does best is letting rip in front of a microphone. And that is exactly what she does here. Last year she came back to remind the music world exactly of what she is capable of on The Motivator. A raw romp collaboration with Fanny drummer and vocalist Brie Darling. That musical statement gathered acclaim, but the seeds of her return were already sown a few months prior. Record Store Day 2019 saw the limited vinyl release of Blvds of Splendor. An album born of tragedy and time. Initially slated for release in 2016, the project was shelved due to a life changing accident which saw Cherie having to battle unlike never before to reclaim her health, before her rock throne. 

Now, on April 28th, Cherie Currie releases Blvds of Splendor onto streaming services. A little lockdown love to lift the spirits during these uncertain times. But unlike the limited vinyl only release, the album come s expanded, with the added bonuses of extra tracks including the Runways classic “Queens Of Noise”. That track alone features Brody Dalle, The Veronicas, Juliette Lewis and Matt Sorum (Producer). “Queens Of Noise” stands as a tribute to the late Runaways drummer Sandy West, where Sorum lovingly recreates the drummers’ signature moves. 

Blvds of Splendor is a cracking release. From the get-go the seventies songstress soars with the same fire that fuelled her angst-ridden Runaways vocals. But with a maturity, and a control that comes with life experience. Kicking off stylishly with “Mr. X”. An introduction to the scale of what Cherie and Matt began in 2010. This tracks features the guts of Velvet Revolver, with Slash, Duff and the aforementioned Matt providing the musical backdrop. Shifting nicely into a cover of the Nick Gilder / Sweeney Todd mid-seventies hit “Roxy Roller”, a glam-rock tour-de-force hand built for Cherie. 

The emotional side of the rocker comes to the fore in “You Wreck Me”. A twisting break up song, which evokes pain and search for hope in the abyss. This turns around with the follow up “Black Magic” featuring The Veronicas. The title track features the Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan. Both artists dance vocally across a sea of acoustic guitars, and dramatic strings. With an edge, the tracks “Force To Be Reckoned With” and the emotional “Shades” include a lyrical contribution from Cheries’ son Jake Hays both adding an extra dimension to the recording. Though “Bad And Broken” is a song that could have appeared on the Runways first album. It has that fire in the belly delivery that was the centerpiece to that album. Whereas there is a tinge of eighties Heart to “Rock & Roll Oblivion”, with a packed instrumentation that includes string sections and E-bows. 

Continuing with momentum “Draggin’ the Line” is a pretty decent rocker and the following shared vocal of Sorum and Cherie on “Breakout” makes for a cracking listen. The winner however of this whole set is the rendition  of the Hollies version of “The Air That I Breathe”. It is outstanding, and will become a centerpiece to Cherie Curries’ post-Runaways career.

Blvds of Splendor is a beast of raw beauty. The opening statement proves true, as it is a fun album, and that is prevalent from the first riff. Showcasing the talent of Cherie Currie and the production prowess of Matt Sorum. An album that aches to be investigated, and the perfect distraction from the isolation tension that has engulfed our existence.

1. Mr. X
2. Roxy Roller
3. You Wreck Me
4. Black Magic
5. Blvds of Splendor 
6. Force To Be Reckoned With
7. Bad and Broken
8. Rock & Roll Oblivion
9. Shades
10. Draggin’ the Line
11. Breakout
12. The Air That I Breathe
13. What Do All the People Know? – Bonus Track
14. Gimme – Bonus Track
15. Queens of Noise – Bonus Track

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