Published Jul 07, 2016On a lot of Aphex Twin's previous EPs, the material besides the lead-off track has been fairly forgettable: "73-yips" from the On EP isn't going down in history, nor is "Pancake Lizard" from Donkey Rhubarb, or Windowlicker's "Nannou." This isn't to say that they're poor songs, but they boast very different flavour from the release's title tracks, and are generally upstaged by them. In this respect, Cheetah breaks the pattern.
The hugely differing styles between tracks have been replaced with a uniform sound throughout, so that it feels like a real body of work, as opposed to a random selection of tunes. That's the good news. Unfortunately, the reason that nothing is overshadowed on Cheetah is because there's not much that casts a strong shadow here. "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]" will likely stick out because of its music video, directed by 12-year-old Ryan Wyer, but were it not for that, the track would remain camouflaged amidst its same-y siblings. "CIRKLON 1" is a touch meatier than "3," and bonus track "2X202-ST5" has an acid-tinged bass line that leaves a lasting impression (even if it's too little, too late), but as a whole, Cheetah mostly plods past unnoticed.
Aphex Twin has made a good move here by giving a similar feel throughout the EP, but instead of having a few so-so tracks alienated by a standout one, the entire release ends up being fine but unremarkable, especially when pitted against the behemoths of his back catalogue. Fans of Aphex Twin's drowsier material will find plenty of joy in Cheetah, but even they might find it fading into the background within a few months.