When reading about Cheatahs, the self-titled full length debut from a UK-based shoegaze group, you will generally find yourself actually reading about Isn’t Anything, Loveless, Nowhere, and Souvlaki, the perpetually paraded roster of UK shoegaze canon. If it hasn’t been nail fastened into your skull yet, then here is yet another chance for music critics to remind you that albums within a specific sub-genre tend to share sonic similarities with the most celebrated albums of that sub-genre. For a group of people who are so quick to cite a lack of content originality and ambition, the meta-hypocrisy involved is comical.
If you enjoy traditional shoegaze and you’re excited by the prospect of new, well constructed melodies warping, screeching, and angel cooing your ears off to a blur-obscured oasis, then you’re excited about Cheatahs. You welcome the instantaneous hit-the-ground-gliding inertia of “Geographic”, where guitars find that ecstasy fold between dream and distortion, and vocal harmonies interplay with airy elegance. You’re drawn in by the echo-psych intro of “Mission Creep”, subdued by the tranquil groove until you suddenly feel your weightless frame launched by the tractor beam lift of the chorus. You salivate over the twinkle-fuzz rendition of the loud-quiet alt rock dynamic seen in “Fall”, a cyclical seesaw of star gazing and sludge plunging.
Shoegaze is a genre rich in aural resources, and there is still an endless capacity of interesting soundscapes to be crafted within this specific style of alternative rock. Cheatahs display a good knack for it here, and hopefully they aren’t too dissuaded from the aesthetic by the lazy interpretations of armchair riff historians.
Cheatahs is available digitally and physically via Wichita Recordings