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?
These guys are pretty good. If you enjoy awesome 90's bands like Swervedriver, Swirlies, My Bloody Valentine and Ride, this is gonna rock your socks! WARNING!!! I gotta say that there is absolutely nothing original about the sound of Cheatahs - they really do sound like a mash-up of the bands I just mentioned; and those bands did even sound quite similar to each other in the first place. But if you dig that sound as much as I do, this is a good thing to have going on the stereo as background music when you have your friends over. And I mean that in a good way. After all, with all the trap, dub, hiphop and urban electronic stuff filling up the airtime these days, it can't harm anyone that we now have another solid shoegazerband to go to...
Although undoubtedly done before, Cheatahs refresh the sweet sound of shoegaze whilst wonderfully discerning its roots. All tracks bide into wonderfully reverbed layers beautifully complemented by Nathan Hewitts vulnerable vocals. Undoubtedly the album is something of a grower as it can sound slightly muffled on the first listen but is well worth the time investment as tracks such as 'Fall' become more incredible after every listen, the riff on this one is something MBV would bend over backwards for. The more swaggery sounds of 'Mission Creep' and 'Leave to remain' bind the album together effortlessly. How these guys have such little recognition is a mystery, Live also the tracks carry the same oomph as the recordings making it something of a fascinating live spectacle which leaves you unsure whether to mosh it out or stand mesmerized at how these incredible stinging sounds are being produced by a four piece. Listening the way through is the very very least you can do. The gaze bar has been set highly here. ENJOY!
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.