Che-Val is the pop juggernaut you've never heard of. The husband and wife duo of Kenny and Laura Cash combine their unique talents in a freshman album that blends Laura's powerful vocals and Kenny's musical know-how to create a sound that is simultaneously both modern and retro.
The thing that separates Che-Val from other pop acts is that they are extremely versatile both in their sound and subject matter. Each track on Waterproof has a distinct flavor that is highlighted by the accompaniment. The album starts strong with the upbeat "Oh Darlin" that is backed by a brass section and multi-layered vocals pleading for love. This is then followed up by the dance-y throwback "My Beat", whose synths sound like they came straight out of a time machine from the 80s. The album's titular track "Waterproof" is third in the line-up and slows things down, as Laura delivers vocals that move the listener as the lyrics describe the singer's resilience and strength of character in the face of negativity.
Gone Mad is the fourth track on the album and brings a more philosophical slant to things as Laura ruminates on how "It’s a crazy world headed for collapse/ We are animals prime for attack/ It’s a crazy world and we’ve all gone mad" and Kenny employs the use of strings to heighten the dramatic feel of the track. The video for this song borrows aesthetics from Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass to emphasize the topsy-turvy nature of the world that Che-Val describes. The fifth track, The Lead, which features a verse by the artist Rothstein, builds off the strings from the previous track before trading them in for a spicy synth hook that makes you want to dance your ass off. Don't Give Up on Me follows the Lead, stripping away the high production value of the previous tracks in favor of a simplified pairing of Laura's voice and an acoustic guitar.
The seventh track, Classic Man, is a modern take on the ballad, as it blends Laura's soulful singing with synths to celebrate the idea of traditional romance. Following Classic Man is Poison, where Laura takes a more breathy approach to her singing while accompanied by piano and some bass-heavy synths, creating a dark mood that directly contrasts the loving tone of track immediately preceding it. The pace changes again with Love Still Waiting, which features the Funky Dawgz Brass Band, as the album takes another high-energy optimistic turn as Laura sings about impatiently waiting for her lover to return. The album closes with the thoughtful and spiritual God Only Knows, that makes use of heavy reverb and airy synths.
On the whole, Che-Val's freshman album offers a nuanced look at the band's versatility in both lyrics and sound. Kenny and Laura are a power couple as they pair rich, dynamic vocals with precise production. Their range of sound and subject matter is particularly impressive, Waterproof offers a track to suit whatever mood a listener might be in. Give Che-Val a listen and at least one of their songs on this album will become a new favorite.