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Firefly alum Cheerleader drops new album

Andre Lamar * Delaware
andre.lamar@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Cheerleader has a new reason to shake their pompoms, thanks to their sophomore album, "Almost Forever," dropping Friday, Feb. 7.

"Almost Forever," via Bright Antenna Records, comes a few years after the Philly band’s 2015 debut, "The Sunshine of Your Youth," and finds a group reinvented and rejuvenated.

Over that span, the band played the Firefly Music Festival (2015) and lead singer Joseph Haller parted ways with founding member Chris Duran.  

“A lot has happened since the band formed in 2011 — people grow, people change, and priorities shift," Haller said. "It was in everyone’s best interest that we go our separate ways.” Cheerleader's new album features Haller and bandmates Joshua Pannepacker, Paul Impellizeri and Sean Donaghy with producer Chris Coady (Beach House and Future Islands). 

On "Almost Forever," listeners will get a glimpse into Haller and the band's journey since 2016. 

The Philly band dished on an aspect of the new album they feel is underrated, the key to avoiding another mental burnout, and one of their first "cheerleaders" who encouraged them.

If you could feature any player from the Philadelphia Eagles (past or present) in one of your music videos, who would it be?

We’d feature Connor Barwin (even though he left for a minute) because of everything he does for the Philadelphia music scene and the city through his Make The World Better foundation.

What's something about "Almost Forever" you're really proud about that you think might be easy for many listeners to overlook?

All of the synth sounds are unique. Our producer, Chris Coady, insisted that we craft custom sounds with mostly analog synthesizers for each part on each track. We’re stoked that he insisted because it really gives each song a unique vibe.

Can you explain the story behind your home studio featuring a chic painting of Jane Jetson? 

We’re going for a vintage '70s vibe. Josh had an artist buddy of his run with that theme, and he painted Jane. We love it.

What's the significance of naming one song "Chimera?" 

Because it’s a song about a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail. We think.

A few years ago, Joseph Haller was experiencing emotional and mental burnout. What's being done differently these days to help prevent that from happening again to him, or anyone else in the band?

I think we're all just a little more careful about how we do things as a band and I think we're also much more conscious about our own limits. Plus, we’re all a little older and more experienced now. We can roll with the punches. 

Outside of your family, who was one of your biggest cheerleaders, or a person who believed in you before most others did?

Our manager, Jon Garrett. He was certainly Joe’s biggest cheerleader as he was writing songs, consistently providing him honest feedback with enthusiasm. He’s been with the band almost since its inception.