Cheatahs’ long-awaited debut album (released February 2014 on Wichita Recordings) is first and foremost an exploration of the possibilities of modern guitar music. A blend of ecstatic noise, ambient drone and visceral, ear-splitting alt-rock, combined with lyrics that touch on the complexities of relationships, nature, the city, memory, dislocation and self-identity, the self-titled record displays a giant creative leap from the lo-fi fuzz of the band’s first two EPs.
But let’s start from the beginning. The London based band came together when Nathan Hewitt (vox, guitar), originally from Edmonton, Canada, and James Wignall (guitar, vox), originally from Leicester, met 7 years ago while both working in a pub in Camden and bonded over a shared love of Seinfeld and hardcore punk. Despite both friends playing in various bands over the next few years, it was only in 2010 that the two decided to finally make music together. After writing a handful of songs, they asked friends Marc Raue, originally from Dresden, Germany, and Dean Reid, from San Diego, USA to join them on drums and bass respectively.
As with Cheatahs’ previous work, all tracks for the album were recorded and mixed by bassist Dean and produced by the band. With the majority of the record ostensibly finished, Cheatahs embarked on a six-week tour of the US with Wavves and FIDLAR. On returning, the band barely took time to recuperate before heading to Dean’s ramshackle studio in east London to complete the album, where they spent two feverishly productive months completing it. For an album influenced by everything from Link Wray to Cy Twombly – influences as scattered as the band members’ geography – the result is a cohesive behemoth, 12 tracks of raucous guitars, breathy vocals, and honey-dripped, soaring melodies.
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