Published Feb 10, 2014Resurgent interest in noisy, distortion-laden guitar music has yielded a lot of great records that pay homage to past triumphs rather than trying to best them. After a string of EPs and seven-inches, Cheatahs' debut finds a happy medium between the sonic exploration of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless and the innate tunefulness of Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, two of shoegaze's iconic pillars.
That dichotomy is laid bare in the London, England-based band's creative brain trust. The songs are crafted by singer-guitarists Nathan Hewitt, an Edmonton ex-pat, and James Wignall, while bass-player Dean Reid shapes their dense, layered sound in the group's Hackney studio. It's a thrilling record, full of warm textured guitars built into monolithic walls of sound.
Where many of their peers would use the double axe attack to bludgeon listeners, Cheatah's inject a dose of playfulness into their tunes, like the chiming, New Order-esque riff at the end of "Geographic." Stuffed with guitar histrionics, Cheatahs do fall prey to hero-worship, but they nevertheless deliver an album worthy of its influences. (Wichita)