21 Apr 2015

Cheatahs / 紫 (Murasaki) (EP Review)

Last year's debut album Cheatahs was what first put the London-based noisemongers on the map. Their fuzz-laden shoegazing long player was a bloody good introduction to the band, in fact, it was so bloody good that it came 14th on our albums of the year list.

Next Monday, the quartet are bringing out their latest EP, their second of 2015, and a worthy follow-up to the critically acclaimed Sunne. 紫 is the name of that EP, and in English it's pronounced Murasaki - sharing it's name with a 11th century female Japanese author and poet, Murasaki Shikibu, whose work inspired the EP in part.

Straight off the bat, the title track captures the beautiful MBV-Sometimes tone that the band imitated so beautifully on their debut album, and projects it over a luscious soundscape. It's that combination of guitars and synths that push Cheatahs' sound into all-consuming bliss. The rhythm section harry the track along quickly, and timidly, like little sonic people trying to escape the wash of a tidal wave, whilst the synth sound and the fuzzed out guitars give the effect that that wave's building up and up, before everything is covered in that euphoria that Cheatahs do so well.

Again, on Wash Out, the same tone is exercised, and laden with lo-fi vocals that give the track a really nice fuzzy quality that's both warm and comforting and glacial and distant at the same time, like the first Medicine album or the crunchier numbers on Ride's Nowhere.

However, it's not just 'gazing that Cheatahs do on this record - it also sees them adopt a more beatsy approach on the song 3D Milk - a song that's just as disconcerting and angular as it's title. Revolving around a bizarre stomping, loop, the track's one of the oddest, most-dystopian songs they've written to date - it's like Broadcast partaking in some kind of riot.

This EP, though, on the whole, sees Cheatahs both honing their classic cosmic shoegaze sound, and pushing new boundaries. Whilst half the EP fills the latter of those relatively satisfyingly, the half of the EP that sees Nathan Hewitt and co. smashing it with their shoegaze sound is musical brilliance, and you could say that the song 紫 is nigh on the best thing they've done. Another promising release from one of London's best upcoming bands.

Hear 紫 (the song) on soundcloud
The EP is out May 4th via Wichita Recordings - preorder it now


(written by calum cashin)