Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cheatahs - Cheatahs

Album review by soul1@thesoundofconfusion.com


Being the kind of site that we are, there was always a strong likelihood that our tips for the year list was going to include some shoegaze. Assuming that is, that there was a band or bands who were good enough to make the cut. There's an awful lot of new music out there. London group Cheatahs were a shoe-in for that list, they were pretty much the first name on the team sheet. There are two reasons for this, the first is because we'd heard more by them than many other bands, having already reviewed the double A-side single 'Cut The Grass'/'Kenworth', both of which feature here, and also having heard 'The Swan' and 'Fall', again songs that feature on the album. The second reason for their inclusion was that of all the new shoegaze-type bands doing the rounds, these guys were consistently great and probably the most likely to give us a full-length that could be considered one of this year's best.

Cheatahs (their spelling by the way) are the first from the aforementioned list to put out their debut album, and this is the bit where we find out whether we were duped and they only have the four good songs, or if they genuinely are as stupidly good as we thought. There are five tracks before we get to the ones we know already, so it doesn't take long to find out; the first half of the album is new to these ears. After a short intro they slam straight into 'Geographic', and it's a bit like being hit by a bus. This is a no-holds-barred onslaught of distorted guitars and crashing drums. If you think of Amusement Parks On Fire suddenly returning with their best song to date, then you'd probably think of a song like this. Melody is never far away and the sound has that wind-tunnel effect; it's just so fresh, breezy and powerful that it gives you a rush of energy and excitement. You can feel the serotonin levels rising, and if that's not enough they even throw in a short Pain Of Being Pure At Heart-style guitar solo. Off to a flying start is an understatement.

What may serve this band well, is their ability to adapt. 'Northern Exposure' is still guitars that are rammed through a few different filters and pedals, and it's still a heady rush, but there's the slight whiff of US alt-rock to this. Dinosaur Jr certainly spring to mind, as does the American-influenced debut album by Yuck. Giving us a chance to get our breath back and regain our composure, 'Mission Creep' allows the pace to drop but continues the general fuzz-laden sound; this is dreamier, floatier and a touch more laid-back, and the chorus, well, that's just sheer majesty. It's sounds like this that made The Radio Dept.'s 'Lesser Matters' such an acclaimed album. Whether it's smouldering away like this or firing out scorchers like the aforementioned pair, Cheatahs are on fire. We're dumped back into something heavier for 'Get Tight', perhaps the most crunching, grungy and gritty song on the album. It's the one time in your life that being dumped is a fantastic experience.

We finally start getting to the songs that wowed us last year, and truth be told, they haven't been missed. The quality as equalled and even surpassed them at times. However, 'The Swan' still sounds like a rampantly giddy example of its genre; 'Kenworth' the discordant wonder we remembered it being; 'Fall' recalls Ride at their early best and 'Cut The Grass' remains difficult to fault in any way. 'IV' is one we didn't know, and it again takes them down a more spaced-out and atmospheric route, but still comprises of shards of broken guitar and battered drums, and the sludgy feel works much better than it should; they opt for a vintage sound on 'Leave To Remain', a song that's very much in debt to the innovators who began making similar noises years ago. There's even the odd bit where Teenage Fanclub-style harmonies appear, and that's a nice surprise that mixes things up a bit. Lastly there's 'Loon Calls', with a quick fade in, more Radio Dept. vibes and soft melodies hidden behind those shards of crystal guitar. Have Cheatahs thrown us an early contender for album of the year? In this particular genre you'd have to say they have, and overall it might just be in the running too. 'Cheatahs' is a filler-free blitz of delight, and it's a more than a little bit breathtaking.







Cheatahs' website

Buy the album

Catch them live:

THU 27 FEB Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA, US
SAT 01 MAR Brick & Mortar Music Hall, San Francisco, CA, US
TUE 04 MAR Baby's All Right, Brooklyn, NY, US
WED 05 MAR Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, PA, US
THU 06 MAR U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC, US
WED 09 APR Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
THU 10 APR Comet Club, Berlin, Germany
FRI 11 APR Klub RE, Krakow, Poland
TUE 15 APR Freakout Club, Bologna, Italy
WED 16 APR Lo Fi Club, Milan, Italy
FRI 18 APR Sala Stereo, Alicante, Spain
SAT 19 APR La [2], Barcelona, Spain
SUN 20 APR Festival MU, Dijon, France
WED 23 APR Witloofbar, Brussels, Belgium
THU 24 APR Pôle Etudiant De L'université De Nantes, Nantes, France
FRI 25 APR La Péniche, Lille, France
MON 19 MAY Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
TUE 20 MAY La Flèche d'Or, Paris, France
FRI 23 MAY Stereo, Glasgow, UK
FRI 20 JUN Best Kept Secret Festival 2014, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
THU 07 AUG Beacons Festival 2014, Skipton, UK





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