I somehow slept on this one when it came out back in February, probably because it was a Rise release and didn't arrive with enough fanfare to overcome that handicap. I'm in the early ages of playing end-of-the-year catch-up on everything that's slid under my radar thus far, and this bad boy got a spin this morning. As a child of the '90s, I was thoroughly impressed by Cheap Girls' earnest, no-frills power-pop. Their uptempo offerings remind me of college-rock hook machine Matthew Sweet topped with with the punk-ish influence of Hot Rod Circuit. They also nail the stripped-down heartbreak ballad, as the brilliant "Cored to Empty" compares very favorably with the work of Lawrence Arms side project Sundowner. Giant Orange is full of power chords and catchy sing-alongs, and it's proof-positive you can still go a long way on the strength of simple rock-and-roll songs.