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4.0 out of 5 stars More a question of "why bother?" than "how good?", 21 Feb 2014
This review is from: Cheatahs (MP3 Download)
From the very first glorious lump of guitar that hijacks you from a familiar hiss, to the very last waveringly detuned hum you’re hoping doesn’t have to fade out, this album is both a delight and absolutely bankrupt. Don’t get me wrong: it’s a fantastic sound. Not that how fantastic that noise is should be a surprise. If you ever had ears and walked around a bit twenty odd years ago, then you would already know that this always was a fantastic sound, on account of all those other albums you used to enjoy back then. They sounded exactly like this, only more so. Ride. Dinosaur Jr. My Bloody Valentine. *That*

Even bands that weren’t good fit in here, too. Swervedriver, say. Bloody Swervedriver. I remember hating them at the time. But then, one of the very good reasons this album is such a joy to hear now is how much better 1991 sounds when it’s 23 years since you lived in it. Because what this album sounds like is if that entire year got together and made a record that sounded precisely like a slightly inferior copy of any one of those bands on their own. To be fair, it’s very good. In fact, if this album had been released 20 years ago, then bands like the one that just released it now would probably be copying it.

The problem isn’t that that’s both a complement and an insult, it’s that I don’t know what ratio the two are in. You’ll already know if you like the sound Cheatahs make, then. It’s just that, if you remember it from the first time round, then listening to them might feel a little too close to hugging a costume drama with your ears.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hooked me in straight away - brilliant!, 27 Feb 2014
This review is from: Cheatahs (Audio CD)
The guitaring hooked me in on their 2 earlier EPs. Something about it, its so mesmerizing. Can be heard on the track "Geographic". Glad they are doing something that no one else really is. Will be in my top 5 albums of 2014 no doubt.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cheatahs, 10 Feb 2014
Gannon (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cheatahs (Audio CD)
Cheatahs’ debut LP is difficult to pin down. When tracks like “Leave To Remain” sound like the more nauseous parts of Loveless and others have the very literal shoegaze sense of disappearing into transportative, head-nodding noise, their claims of being an ambient-punk band may seem to be misleading. Certainly there are few parallels to draw between the London-based band’s fuzzy alt-rock and say, Deerhunter, the current kings of self-proclaimed ambient-punk. On many levels, especially when we consider 50% of the Cheatahs line-up hail from North America, someone like Ringo Deathstarr seems a more appropriate comparison.

That all said, if by ambient-punk Cheatahs mean melodic, fuzzed-out rock with crunchy guitars and a dreamy edge borrowed from the early 90s then they may be on to something. Beneath the pedal-driven scree of “Northern Exposure”, for example, there’s a discernable indie jangle – not typically the preserve of any type of punk. All the same, this is a direction that can lead to wishy-washier results and so it proves with disappointments like “Mission Creep”, though similar indie-punker “The Swan” fares much better, marauding with DIY intent just as it did on last year’s solid SANS EP.

We could talk about nomenclature all day, but in many cases it’s futile – either too restrictive or too vague. What’s clear in any case is that the star of Cheatahs’ show is that killer guitar crunch, particularly when it comes in to offset the slightly fey 90s bent such as on “Get Tight”. It’s even better on the buzzsaw rocker “Kenworth” – one half of the recent AA single backed with the melodic “Cut The Grass”. Incorporating dissonant drone simmer, both these tracks feel like the wheels may fly off at any time, but so too are they held back by the knowledge that they won’t for which it’d be too easy and stereotypically lazy to blame the German precision of drummer Marc Raue. Punk doesn’t need to be dangerous but can it be tasteful? Maybe not, unless – to bring the conversation full circle – this is the ambience Cheatahs were referring to all along?

Best tracks: “Leave To Remain” and “Kenworth”
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