Monday 23 November 2015

Cheatahs - Mythologies

Article by KevW

Being the kind of site that covers a lot of shoegaze and associated genres, we began looking forward to London group Cheatahs' debut album from the moment we first heard them over two years ago. It didn't disappoint, with tracks like 'The Swan' going on to become synonymous with the revival of the movement. Now they bring us follow-up 'Mythologies' eighteen months later, and signs of "second album syndrome" are nowhere to be found. In fact, this could be an even better collection, showcasing a slightly sleeker, more streamlined version of their fuzzy guitar-pop, but that's not to say they've veered towards the mainstream at all.

'Channel View', for example, could have slotted onto the self-titled debut, as could 'Hey Sen', and the grittier, almost krautrock-sounding 'In Flux' is as memorable as anything of that LP, with a propulsive beat, lots of guitars and tidy vocals, and they follow it with the more abrasive and surging 'Freak Waves'. These might be barbed-wire sonic blasts, but they're not short on the melody front. 'Signs Of Lorelei' (possible Cocteau Twins reference?) involves more electronics (as does the driving, bubbly 'Su-pra') and classic shoegaze hallmarks, yet still sounds like a step forward. The lovely 'Seven Sisters' is single material and both traditional and fresh at once - it comes at a point where everything is in full flow and that streamlined vibe is in full effect - as following track '紫 (Murasaki)' goes to show.

If you want the pure guitar distortion that's associated with more full-on proponents in this field (My Bloody Valentine, A Place To Bury Strangers), the you can get lost in the fury of 'Colorado'. Also less subtle is 'Deli Rome', a song that almost sounds out of place, having more in common with other forms of '90s alt-rock and generally bludgeoning its way through rather than gliding, but not enough to stop the flow of the album. Once or twice 'Mythologies' eases off the scuzz and dips nearer to dreampop land. Opener 'Red Lakes (Sternstunden)' is akin to a lighter Engineers tune, and penultimate track 'Mysteci' is more ambient, although the guitar is sharp enough to lift it above simply being a hazy interlude, and this is emphasised when the crashing drums kick in. Everything ends with more krautrock-infused classic shoegaze though, as 'Reverie Bravo' takes us out in the manner that we've become accustomed. Cheatahs have reiterated the talent they showed on their first record, only this time they come with go-faster stripes.

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