Tuesday, February 19, 2013

REVIEW: Cheatahs - Extended Plays

Let's make a prime rock cocktail - take two parts aggressive shoegaze, one part '90s guitar god alternative rock (think Dinosaur Jr. and Sugar) and stir with solid chunks of pure pop.  We'll call it Extended Plays and attribute it to London's Cheatahs.  The result is exciting and refreshing, and more than a little bit noisy.  We'll warn you that you likely will want another.

Album opener "The Swan" plays up the huge guitars.  "SANS" and "Fountain Park" provide even more pace, while "Flake" brings pop melody to the fore. "Coared" features ringing guitars and a bit of psych pop feel.  "Ripper" and "Jacobi" continue the British '90s vibe, bringing to mind Teenage Fanclub.  I wouldn't have been surprised to find album closer, "Froshed", on a Ride album, and I would have liked it there as much as I like it here.    For this outing, the band has eschewed the slower side of shoegaze, but if you are looking for raw energy, this album provides it in seamless fashion from start of finish.

Cheatahs are Male Bonding member Nathan Hewitt, assisted by James Wignall (of Weird Dreams), Dean Reid and Marc Raue.  They hail from Canada, England, Germany and the US, and as far as I know they have no long history of playing together.  But I'm very impressed with how they have taken their influences and then pulled out the stops and had fun: More effects; more riffs; and more melody.  What isn't apparent is that Extended Plays is comprised of two four-track EPs released last year, SANS and Cored.  To my ears, the SANS tracks (the first four) sound more alt-rock/grunge while the Coared tracks are a bit more to the Brit pop end of shoegaze.

As cocktails go, Extended Plays is a short one - eight songs over less than a half hour.  But as most of us have learned, and usually the hard way, it is the punch the cocktail packs, rather than the size, that matters in the end.  You'll have no complaints about the punch from Cheatahs.

The album is out now on Wichita Recordings.  If you want to catch the band live, they will be at SXSW, and touring with Waaves and FIDLAR.

Twitter ( @cheatahssuck )
Wichita Recordings

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