Album Reviews - Reviews

Cheatahs – Cheatahs


Nostalgia is a curious thing. If you are to believe reddit, Buzzfeed and Facebook posts about the nineties, you’d be under the impression that the decade was a some kind of cultural utopia; a place where real artists ruled the airwaves, television was dominated by classic shows and everything was made of sunshine, rainbows and gleeful apathy. But, as is always the case, all isn’t what it seems. For example, if you are to believe the teachings of Bill Hicks as laid out on Arizona Bay and Rant In E Minor, it’s hard to ascertain why anyone would even vaguely admire this cultural wasteland. Although, Hick’s presence suggests that this might not be an entirely accurate view.

The fact that the PMRC, Dharma & Greg and Creed exist in conjunction with Loveless, Richard Linklater, Quentin Tarantino and the aforementioned Hicks should be proof that the nineties, like every other generation, is made up of a collection of highs and lows that form a semi-cohesive whole.  The statute of limitations on nineties nostalgia seems to have passed recently, so now we can obsess about this era like we did in the mid-noughties with the eighties. We can comfortably revel in the cool morning glow of Cobain’s shadow and claim that what we do is retro or a homage to a bygone era. I say this, because ultimately your view on this issue will colour your perception of Cheatahs and their self titled debut LP.

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The easiest way to describe Cheatahs would be to point to their influences and say “that”. The band have dug deep into the treasure trove of the first five years of the nineties and have moulded a kind of frankensound based on everything that they could get their hands on. Limbs made up of Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine are all presented without irony or shame. While some might ask “why you don’t listen to those bands rather than what appears to be a glorified cover band”, Cheatahs have got a few aces up their sleeve. Although we’re quite early into this year, there is no denying that ‘The Swan’ will probably be one of the best songs released in the next twelve months. Featuring an excellent riff, tight rhythm section and an appropriate length, the song does everything right. Among the other choice cuts are the pulsating ‘Get Tight’, the fantastic ‘Geographic’ and ‘IV’ which could have very easily been a welcome addition to last year’s m b v. Everything is put through the filters of other bands, and while that can at times be absolutely exhilarating, it also leads to at times a rather unfulfilling experience. Eating our own tails is not a viable long term plan.

Ultimately what you get from Cheatahs depends on your  love of the nineties and your patience for unoriginality. At times the record is absolutely brilliant, at times it just isn’t. The question boils down to this: Do you want to be Guided By My Bloody Dinosaur?

Honestly? I do. Will Murphy

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