Chicago's Cells fuse masterful pop songwriting with explosive punk guitars and aching harmonies to create a searing, urgent soundtrack for these skittish times. Brokenhearted rock casualties with winsome smiles on their faces, this Chicago quartet will bludgeon you with love. Singer/songster Cory Hance, guitarist Pat McIntyre, bassist Rick Ness (Figdish) and drummer Randy Payne hope two themes stand out on their upcoming album, "We Can Replace You" ... love still rules, and you're right to be paranoid.
The Cells are in a fix. Their songs are too catchy, smart and "pop" for them to be considered a punk band. On the other hand, they play way too loud and with too much wild abandon to be thrown in with the self-conscious crop of "pop" bands who can't seem to go five minutes without name-checking either Big Star or Brian Wilson. And don't call them a "pop-punk" band either. They hate that.
With their feet planted firmly in this century, the Cells play a clean, loud blast of rock and roll for people like themselves who can't find anything they like on the radio.
The Cells singer/guitarist Cory Hance's voice alternates between a weary deadpan and the snotty voice of a 15-year-old, sometimes all within the same song. Their melodic songs muse about doomed relationships, toxic celebrity lifestyles, bad behavior, the spooky corporate takeover of everything, finding beauty in strange places and hope in the face of disaster. The band's vocal harmonies soar over beds of angry guitars and pounding drums played by guitarist Pat McIntyre, drummer Randy Payne and bassist Rick Ness. Song after three-minute song captures the angry hum of urban life while making you want to throw your fist in the air like a kid at his first rock concert.
The individual members of the Cells all moved to Chicago during the 90's to be where some of their favorite records had been made. While they formed the band and honed their songs, the loud music that inspired them became the mainstream taste and diluted itself into something that, frankly, creeps the Cells out.
Fighting for their lives in a world where music, like food, is often genetically designed to hit its target market, the Cells present their first album, We Can Replace You.
* The album was recorded by Andy Gerber of Million Yen Studios. He's recorded Caviar, Local H, Million Yen, Ness.
* Features keyboard contributions from Doug Corella from the Verve Pipe.
* The Cells have played shows with Frank Black and the Catholics, Jonathan Richman (2 sold-out nights), 12 Rods, Ultimate Fakebook, Tommy Keene, Lotion, Verbena, The Apples In Stereo, The Kimball/Roeser Effect . Other Cells show-mates and fans include: Local H, Veruca Salt (who told the press across the country during last year's tour that the Cells were their favorite band), Caviar, Nash Kato (Urge Overkill), the Webb Brothers, Brian Liesgang, The Smoking Popes, The Cupcakes, Jonny Polonsky, Triplefastaction, Box-O-Car, Stingray U.K., Million Yen, Muchacha, Tsar, the Pulsars.
* During Randy Payne's & Cory Hance's stint as side musicians in Box-O-Car, they toured the country & played shows with Iggy Pop, Matthew Sweet, Cheap Trick, The Knack and The Church.
* Cory's played shows in Jonny Polonsky's backup band, and Jonny used to fill in for him in Box-O-Car.
* Bass player Rick Ness was a founding member of Figdish (2 releases - Polydor) and pioneered the use of porn stars in rock videos with the video for "When Shirts Get Tight." He also does touring bass duty for the Webb Brothers.
* Cory started the Cells 3 years ago with Norwegian bass player, Brede Hovland, who's now an LA movie producer (Mission to Mars, Big Trouble).