Early last year Cheatahs began dropping a paper trail of singles that hinted at a debut LP. Amid the endless touring, the London-based quartet wrapped things up and is finally delivering the goods. And they’re off to a good start.
On their self-titled debut, Cheatahs—made up of members from Germany, England, Canada and the U.S.—aren’t necessarily going to floor you with their originality. The band’s love for My Bloody Valentine is apparent immediately from the swell of guitars in 45-second opening instrumental “I.” And it becomes even stronger the deeper you get. But other details begin to emerge as well.
Cheatahs are prone to slow-burning walls of reverbed distortion, but there’s also a searing punk energy. Songs like “Fall” and “Geographic” fall more into the MBV School of Guitar Rock and, in fact, feel-wise, “Cut the Grass” comes close to MBV’s “When You Sleep.” Then there are songs like “Get Tight” and “The Swan,” where tempos fly and razor-sharp guitar melodies cut through the rest of the noise. “Mission Creep” is the most serene moment on the record, with crystalline strums splashing over a rigid bass line. These guys are in complete control of their instruments, and they’re smart with their use of dynamics.
Actually, the cover art is a pretty good visual representation of the sounds within—jagged rock and bristly shrubs, softened and discolored by an opaque pink. There are plenty of textures and influences at play here, but the ferocity and attack on these 12 tracks can’t be handed down. Sure, Cheatahs unabashedly emulate their influences—and you’ll hear plenty about that in the coming months—but there’s no doubt they’re doing things their way.