My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr, Ride. It’s a strong selection of bands for the London formed four piece to be compared to. With early EP’s ‘Coarse’ and ‘SANS’ full of knock off J Mascas riffs, and latest LP ‘Mythologies’ mimicking the dreamy shoegaze feel of Loveless, they’ve showed glimmers of talent. It’s earned them a European tour, kicking off here in London.
Channelling the lethargic vibe reflected in their first two albums, Cheatahs look like they’d rather be anywhere else in world; uninterested and bored. Occasionally nodding along, they only address the crowd to flog their ‘limited edition’ merchandise. It wouldn’t kill them to act like they give a shit, and would go a long way towards maintaining everyone’s focus.
The misty basement of XOYO does the band no favours. Despite signals to the mixing desk, they are inaudible, even after the 3 guitarist all gave singing a go. However, what they lack in vocals they make up in visuals. The light system, arguably the best at a venue this small in London, captures the mood and tone of each track perfectly, basking the band in an eerie red glow during “Sunne” and rapid strobes stressing the tempo for closer ‘Su-pra’.
The guitar driven older songs the band built their base on stand out the most. ‘Geographic’, off their debut album, showcases a punchy, catchy chorus that sparks some movement in the crowd. The moody, menacing chords of ‘In Flux’ rebound off the walls, soaking the audience. ‘The Swan’ displays the dizzy peaks the band can reach. The dampened rock riff cuts through the fog, finally drawing the attention of every head in the room. Echoey, distorted guitars blend together to send a grungy wave over the sea of nodding heads, climaxing in a breathless finale. A truly spectacular song.
It’s the synth based reverb packed tracks off second album ‘Mythologies’ that let the show down. The spacey ‘Murasaki’ lacks energy; aside from distinctively average keyboard melody, there’s not much there. ‘Signs’, a sprawling mass of lazy drums, airy synth and lo-fi guitars, does the job and nothing more. It feels like they’ve tried to be creative but there’s no impact. They’re disorientating and unfortunately just dull.
They weren’t setting the world alight 4 years ago, but at least they displayed potential; more than can be said for their latest releases. It’s the quality riffs off SANS and their self-titled debut that truly stand out. As it stands, they’re a long way from moving up. They need more Dinosaur Jr, less My Bloody Valentine.