‘Murasaki’ is Cheatahs third release, following their debut album and underground hit ‘Sunne’ EP. The record sees Canadian Nathan Hewitt, Californian Dean Reid, British James Wignall and German drummer Mark Raue more consciously exploring their cultural diversity over distorted guitars and breaking synth lines. For fans of Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine.
12" £9.99 WEBB438T
12" EP on Wichita.
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Readers of these pages will regularly get tired of me moaning about some of the drab and second rate nonsense that passes for shoegaze these days. There is one band who is a total exception to this, the excellent Cheatahs who are light years ahead of their peers. This was particularly exemplified when I saw them play with No Joy last month. Without wanting to pick on No Joy (who certainly have their moments) when Cheatahs took the stage it was like someone flicked a switch- they were electric.
The same can also be said of this new 12". Opening track 'Warm' is a visceral slice of forward looking shoegaze. Sure they take elements of the past, My Bloody Valentine and Swirlies are two points of obvious reference but they have a modern electrified sheen with eerie synths picking out cool melodies over the chaos. 'Warm' is a blast; sung in Japanese the drums drive the track towards the stratosphere. 'Palms' has those classic MBV chord changes in abundance - you know the ones where it kind of sounds like the band are playing backwards? Between this we get oriental style melodies picked out on (presumably) treated guitars.
Overleaf things become more experimental. '3D Milk' judders around with pounding drum machine clatter but once the vocals arrive it all starts to make sense. It doesn't have the pulverising thrill of the first two tracks but shows a band willing to experiment. The closer 'Wash Out' is a lop-sided rollercoaster of a tune with some crazily unpredictable chord changes and changes in tempo and fidelity galore.
This is wildly inventive stuff. It's just too easy to compare anyone with a tremolo pedal to Kevin Shields but this really does carry on the mantle of his sonic sound sorcery and it rubber stamps Cheatahs as one of the most exciting bands on the planet right now.
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