Record review: Cheatahs – Cheatahs (2014, LP)

Cheatahs album

In twenty or thirty years time when the music of 2010 to 2020 is being rehashed, what will bands play? I ask this out of the deepest concern, as the resurgence in use of ’80s synths and ’90s shoegaze and fuzz-rock has become so common lately that it’s contributing to the lack of a distinguishable ‘sound’ of this decade making itself apparent. Are we doomed to repeat the same trends ad infinitum? London quartet Cheatahs aren’t going to help answer that question, as theirs is a sound so steeped in the guitar rock of 1990-94 to make it impossible to be described in any other frame of reference. In saying that, if a guitar band is going to pick a four or five-year period to lift its entire sound from, perhaps only 1966-70 or 1975-79 could be better. Their debut album is a solid mix of shoegaze, college-rock and fuzz in the mould of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Ride, and while you’ll have heard it all before, its familiarity feels like a gloriously cosy blanket being pulled over your anxieties and easing them gently off to sleep. The opening trio of ‘I’, ‘Geographic’ and ‘Northern Exposure’ get among the jangly fuzz without hesitation, but it’s when ‘The Swan’ lets a bit of Dinosaur Jr-esque riffs into the mix that the peak is reached. Overall, the entire album is an unmistakeable tip of the hat to a short period in time that changed guitar music for the better, but still somehow sounds fresh. The ’90s are dead; long live the ’90s. (Wichita)

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