Just when it is needed here comes Sunne, the latest EP release from The Cheatahs, arriving in stores February 23 to brighten a relentless winter season. The release is their third EP and follows their eponymous full length album in 2014. The band draws many comparisons to groups such as Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr, Swervedriver, and The Cure. Their sound is best described as Byrdsian noise pop, guitar jangle and shoegazer.
The Cheatahs were formed in 2009 by vocalist Nathan Hewitt with guitarist James Wignall. They recruited friends Dean Reid, bassist and drummer Mark Raue to finalize the band lineup. Incidentally the band is quite multi continental, with three members coming from three different countries, Nathan Hewitt is from Edmonton, Canada, Dean Reid is from San Diego, California, and Mark Raue is from Dresden, Germany. The album was produced by the band in their homes, and at friends Part Chimp’s Camberwell Studio.
The Cheatahs sound is a balance between elevation and enervation. There are lush bends and textures to their music, which leads to a weightlessness feel. Their music seems an attempt to single-handly bring back a grunge pop revival. Guitarist James Wignall also stated that Sunne was directly inspired by his reading of Ernest Hemmingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises” and his being profoundly affected by the book. “…Sunne is an attempt to encapsulate the feelings I had reading the book”.
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The title track Sunne, which is an old English spelling for sun, has a pulled around feeling and is very enthralling. The “just tethered to the ground” vocals and the distorted guitar make for an entrancing tune. The underlying sound can be likened to an old warped cassette tape, a distinct production touch. The song is a great kickoff for the EP and the overdubbed vocals create a large context for the song to unspool over. Campus starts off with a familiar shoegazer riff but the bell like keyboard adds another element to the song. The vocals accentuate the high energy of the track. The many excellent ingredients on the track hat tip The Pixies, The Cure, Dinosaur Jr and Jesus and the Mary Chain.
Controller has this explosive intro that shape-shifts into a processed guitar with punchy percussion. The shimmering vocals and acid synth bass make for another ‘Don’t Miss’ track. The final song, No Drones is a guitar attack that harkens to some of the best play by Johnny Marr during his Smiths tenure. There is this amazing amount of energy coming out of your speakers on this song and the previous tracks making for aural gold.
At only a mere 13 minutes, many listeners including myself will desire to hear more from this quartet. Another full length record is not only desired but necessary after this snippet of musical excellence. Other bands would barely be clearing their throat on their fourth track when sadly this disc is finished, sigh. The songs are short and sweet but scratch a definite sonic itch. Sunne is just what you need in the winter to chase the blues away. The Cheatahs ability to distill other legendary performers into their own concoction promises good things for the future.