Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit


Release date: 03 February 2014
Cheatahs – Cheatahs
10 February 2014, 11:30 Written by Erik Thompson

Like the multi-national makeup of the band itself, Cheatahs sound is equally influenced by celebrated guitar-driven scenes found on both sides of the Atlantic. The London-based quartet filter equal measures late-’80s UK shoegaze and early-’90s American garage-rock on their self-titled debut full length. The group crafts a distortion-drenched sound that is at once a familiar throwback to beloved eras gone by, as well as an untamed musical statement from a band who is anxious to forge their own way forward in a modern scene grown desperate for more guitar-fueled fury.

After the brief, spacey intro of “I,” the album properly explodes with the anthemic hum of “Geographic,” which builds to a storming guitar squall in its reverb-rich chorus. The track is such a towering scorcher, in fact, that it might take you a while to even get to the rest of the album after giving this raucous number plenty of repeat listens straight out of the box. After the decidedly Ride-like start, Cheatahs offer up their fuzz-laden interpretation on the casual indie-charms of Dinosaur Jr. on “Northern Exposure,” a taut, poppy jam that proves that the band draws their inspiration from many different decades and does them all equal justice.

“Mission Creep” has a hazy, leisurely pace to it that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on last year’s m b v, and blossoms into a tempestuous sea of noise that echoes the enthralling but deafening sonic style of the legendary Irish noise-pop pioneers. The crunchy “Get Tight” takes some of its fuzzed-out and entirely infectious cues from Bleach-era Nirvana, with the band giving the track’s second half an expansive tension that only hooks the listener further into its raw appeal. Cheatahs clearly don’t shy away from any of their influences throughout this album, but they also aren’t lazy enough to merely deliver another tired, lifeless rehash of material canonized long ago. They are continually injecting these dynamic songs with a relentlessly modern spirit, even if they aren’t exactly creating something we haven’t heard fragments of before in the process.

“The Swan” and “IV” give the middle section of the record a fitful potency, with the earlier track fluidly oscillating between a bouncy pop pulse and a volatile aggression that longtime fans of the band have been down with since it was first released on 2012′s SANS EP, while “IV” is a fierce exploration of how much droney din the band can pack into one number. But lest you think the band might be running a bit low on fresh ideas after including an older number in their new collection, the blistering churn of “Leave To Remain” along with the ethereal elegance of their new double-A side single, “Cut The Grass/Kenworth” offers up a string of agitated numbers that find the band taking brazen, exploratory sonic risks while still being able to get heads nodding.

The album comes to a vibrant end with the spiraling, guitar-charged tones of “Loon Calls,” which suggests during its sweeping outro that the band could easily stretch this song out on a lengthy, distortion soaked jam in a live setting. Cheatahs have certainly delivered on the promise suggested by their stellar early EP’s, taking their sound in a spirited, well-worn direction that more than suits them. And while the band leads us down roads we have assuredly traveled before, that doesn’t make the sights and the sounds any less interesting or intoxicating this time around.

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