Sometimes a great song can come out of band practice. When Cheerleader guitarist and keyboardist Josh Pannepacker stayed behind after rehearsals one day to listen to a few early demos that singer Joe Haller had been working on, the two ended up pulling together the track the entire night.
“When he played me this song it was in its early stages, a verse [and] empty chorus kind of loop,” says Pannepacker. “It felt like a song you would hear on Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumors, and I was into it immediately.”
In the end, “Things We Regret” is smooth, electro-pop that segues right in with the band’s upcoming second album Almost Forever (Bright Antenna), out Feb. 7.
“Finalizing the chorus presented itself as being the biggest challenge,” he says. “Though unfinished, we decided it was coming to the album recording session anyway and we would take a gamble on figuring it out there.” Eventually Haller found his way in sober chorus I really wish things could’ve gone differently, baby / But we’ve all done things / Things we’d like to forget.
Almost Forever practically didn’t happened. Prior to working on the album, the band—originally formed in Connecticut in 2011 before relocating to Philadelphia—went on a brief hiatus following its 2016 touring supporting 2015 debut The Sunshine of Your Youth when Haller needed time to recover from mental and physical exhaustion. At the time, Haller felt like he hit a wall and couldn’t produce or perform music. Instead, Haller’s necessary pause was the beginning of the band’s reinvention, in a sense, and Cheerleader began fleshing out their next album throughout the next four years.
Recorded and mixed in California at Panoramic Studio and Sunset Sound, and produced by Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Future Islands, Beach House), Cheerleader is transfixed in synth somewhere between the 1980s and now in first single “Bang Bang,” which plays out as the perfect late night sentimental driving tracks and more indie-pop jingle of “Chimera.”
When the band started working with Coady, they instantly nailed down its the foundation. “Sean [Donaghy] and Paul [Impellizeri] wisely kept the drums and bass tight and simple,” says Pannepacker. “I was approaching my guitar part like the palm muted rhythm electric you hear on Tom Perry’s ‘I Won’t Back Down,’ and Joe threw down some beautiful guitar leads and keys that really locked everything together.”