Cheatahs’ debut album attempts to launch them out of lo-fi guitar music, leaving its songs pitched between Nineties revival tunes and dreamy psychedelia.
‘Northern Exposure’ offers a clear example of their distinguished Nineties sound with its repetitive lo-fi hook and whiney vocals. On tracks like these the band gets very similar in sound to acts such as Yuck and The History of Apple Pie.
Cheatahs want to do their best to not just be a ‘lo-fi guitar band’
However, it would seem that Cheatahs want to do their best to not just be a ‘lo-fi guitar band’ – most likely very aware of how this has held similar bands back. Much of the album is filled with ambient sound effects and dreamy vocals. ‘Kenworth’ is very much a song of two halves- starting off as a lo-fi tune and ending in dreamy psychedelic ambience.
Cheatahs do seem to fall short in conviction with their experimentation with the psychedelic. While it is, by nature, something pretty relaxing to be experimenting with, tracks such as ‘Kenworth’ do seem to force questioning on how much the band really want to be playing this style of music, as sadly, their hearts don’t sound completely in it.
‘The Swan’ remains one of the album’s strongest tracks despite being some of the earliest material on there, laced with catchy guitar riffs throughout. While their lo-fi sound may not be particularly current, they are clearly most passionate with this form and seem to produce the best songs within it.
Cheatahs attempting to redefine themselves on their debut was a wise move; lo-fi guitar bands are all too often swept aside as tribute acts. However, they needed to define their sound with passion and conviction. If this was the case it didn’t come across. Regardless, there are still various songs to be enjoyed on the album. As a result of their desire to experiment, much more breadth is covered than otherwise would have been.
…Ian is listening to Eagulls – ‘Opaque’…