With almost ten years of experience under their belt, the pop-rock band Cheats has seen their sound evolve in directions they could not have imagined when they started in the early 2010s. Now, with their new album Houseplants, the band is capping a landmark year of recording, single releases, and live gigs with a record that’s sure to please listeners old and new. Released under Island Records Philippines, the album is set to drop on major streaming services on November 11, 2022.
Listen to "houseplants" here!
Jim Bacarro, vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter of the band, says that the genesis of houseplants was the band’s decision to scrap an album that would have been released in March 2020 had it not been for the world stopping. They did so when they were able to regather and regroup, and this album marks a new beginning of sorts. Each Cheats album, Jim says, marks a different phase in the band’s life. “The first [self-titled 2015] album was about youthful rebellion,” he says, “Before the Babies  was about [the] fear of new life stages. I think Houseplants captures where we are now: a sense of security with hints of anxiety.” He adds that this shows in how the songs are arranged.
Cheats has the perfect person to guide listeners through some of the album’s tracks. Jason Caballa, who is one of the guitarists and the band’s most experienced member, played for notable local bands such as Pedicab. He says that listeners can note subtle changes to previously released singles, such as “Machine Jr.” and “Milk” from their 2019 Ultramilk EP. He cites another interesting song from the record, a throwback to an earlier era. “’Cake’ is our little homage to New Order: drum machines, lead bass and all,” Jason adds, “Manny ‘Hooky’ Tanglao owns this track.”
“Not to Be Alone,” which Jim says may be the most energetic song on houseplants, is another notable track for how different it sounds. “It's a bit hushed and laid-back by our standards, but it's one of my favorite songs to play live,” Jason says, “I never play it the same way because it's so spacious and open.” Jim says that songs like these reflect a shift in the band’s understanding of what being energetic means. “I think this album shows our maturity as recording artists,” he says, “[Having] high energy doesn’t mean raging guitars and a crazy drum section.”
Honey Calm Down
Not To Be Alone
Morning After feat. Johnoy Danao (Focus Track)
A Little Longer
Cheats has managed to find a dynamic after years of working together, something that shows in this album. Jason says, “Everyone got a chance to shine without overpowering the others.” houseplants is proof that this prolific band continues to grow musically and make music that is unique to every phase of their lives so far.