Pastiche, purely, but powered by passion and performed with a lightness of touch.
Mike Diver 2012
Having been signed off the back of strong live shows, London’s Cheatahs are, perhaps, the epitome of a band that makes best sense on a stage. There’s no ‘fault’ to be found amongst these tracks; but the fizzes and fuzz, pops and crackles would surely connect with greater potency under sizzling stage lights.
What’s in this four-piece’s collective heart is sewn boldly onto its sleeves, influences translated into musical codes and motifs that made the indie charts of the early 90s love-buzz to the sounds of an emerging underground. Label Wichita admits to falling for their nostalgic charms, their echoes of Creation Records outfits like Teenage Fanclub and Sugar; and there’s an endearing sweetness to such straightforwardness.
Basically, nobody in tipster-mindset-mode could qualify Cheatahs as A Hot New Sound Of 2013 – this is the delightful distortion of 1991, revived with reverence. It’s pastiche, purely, but powered by passion, and performed with a lightness of touch not always evident in the original post-grunge landscape.
This refined balance between loud and quiet, light and shade, makes itself heard clearly on opener The Swan. Immediately catchy, and surely familiar to millions on a first play, it’s the sort of song one might’ve heard on the ITV Chart Show’s indie rundown, between Slowdive and Dinosaur Jr. And it establishes this act’s formula-of-choice, which isn’t notably altered across the following cuts.
Fountain Park comes on like an early Elliott Smith song strapped to a supercharger, less a Roman Candle, more a dazzling skyrocket. Flake could accompany the titles/credits of a Britpop-period sit-com – something along the lines of the Gigolo Aunts-scored Game On, albeit with more beards. SANS is the crunchiest number here, but never lets thumping drums and six-string screeches overpower a strong melodic backbone.
That they’ve played with the likes of Milk Music, The Cribs and Cloud Nothings highlights Cheatahs’ probable audience going forward. Those exploring the bleeding edge of contemporary music, listen away now. But for anyone who’s ever air-guitared to a sweaty Mascis solo, this lot’ll sate revivalist thirsts splendidly, especially so when caught in the flesh.