Although this London-based, multinational band declare their love for the likes of Aphex Twin, Actress and Oneohtrix Point Never, and have protested against being classed as a shoegaze band in the past, there’s definite fuzz lineage evident in their music.
The low in the mix vocals, the reverb tinged atmospherics - they even release four track EPs, like all self-respecting shoegaze bands did back in the early ‘90s. Cheatahs are a rock band, they’re much more direct, but if you are a fan of shoegaze, you will love what Cheatahs have come up with on their second album.
Their 2014 debut showed signs of potential, but an over reliance on their impressive sonic power led to a robust collection which relied too heavily on the kind of Americanised shoegaze by the likes of Silversun Pickups, Drop 19s and Medicine, and stuck very much to the rockin’ out template.
Although there are signs of this sound within Mythologies - “Freak Waves” is as forceful as anything from Raise by Swervedriver, while “Colarado”s ferocious wall of sound is a formidable piece of thrashy indie - the all out noise of the past is largely absent, which means when they do freak out it’s more effective.
Mythologies' strength lies in the less rockist moments. The grinding propulsion of “Su-Pra” is a thrilling piece of psyched-out krautrock, given additional spike by the slashes off post punk guitars and Spectrum 48k computer game noises. “Seven Sisters” is a perfect example of modern day shoegaze, the driving guitar work influenced by a pre-messianic John Squire, distant vocals and almost Bananarama-ish backing vocals re-imagines the b-sides of criminally forgotten early ‘90’s acts such as Moose and The Pale Saints.
”紫 (Murasaki)”, the focal point here, first single from the album and first example of Cheatahs really being something else transcends them beyond just another vaguely shoegaze influence act, is genuinely sublime. The percussion is driven in a Neu! on speed kind of way while the guitars and synths merge to evoke images of high flying birds of a non dad-rock kind, Nathan Hewitt’s Japanese sounding vocal intonation is made even more impressive when you realise he’s actually singing in Japanese, the musical aggression enveloped by its sheer beauty.
“Signs to Lorelei” and “Hey Sen” are further examples of their progression, the former reliant on transcendent synthesized noises is both euphoric and desperately sad, while the latter’s scrawling college rock sound is drenched with inherent gloom, but contain the kind of key change which is pure pop gold.
Mythologies is the sound of a band who've realised their previous limitations, improved on the sounds they're most comfortable with and invited us to listen to them discovering their ability to splatter the canvas with all kinds of beautiful mess.