The shoegaze (nu-gaze?) revival is well and truly underway. For those schooled in Kevin Shields and co, Cheatahs will either represent genius or a total rip-off.
After a brief intro (I) akin to switching a vacuum cleaner on in another room with the door shut, the album roars into gear with the speed gaze of Geographic. The track takes James Wignall’s warped guitar, Nathan Hewitt’s buried vocals, adds a heavy dose of My Bloody Valentine with a sprinkling of Swervedriver, and the whole thing is amped up to power pop levels. It’s a brilliant opener, and it’s followed up by the rocky Northern Exposure. Tough, hard-riffers such as Get Tight and Cut The Grass are very much the order of the day here.
They can do dream pop too, in the form of Mission Creep and Fall, the former showcasing Wignall’s fine guitar work, while the latter sugar coats some fine riffs with blissed-out keyboards.
The Swan has post-punk DNA which Interpol would kill for, complete with Obstacle 1 style outtro, while IV plods wonderfully with a chord progression that’s equal parts Kevin Shields and Crazy Horse. Those who remember lamented Irish band Whipping Boy will find much to enjoy in the buzzsaw riffs of Leave To Remain, while Kenworth is like grandSon of Mustang Ford (Swervedriver nerd reference!) ending with tasty swirling keyboards.
They don’t bring very much new to the table here (in the way that Belong do), and it’s borderline slavish homage to their inspirations at times, but they do it SO well. Any of these tracks wouldn’t have been out of place on last year’s mbv and. They will need to evolve from this but this album is a very promising start.
3. Northern Exposure
4. Mission Creep
5. Get Tight
6. The Swan
8. Leave To Remain
11. Cut The Grass
12. Loon Calls