Originally published in Big Takeover Magazine Issue #74

Cheatahs singer/guitarist Nathan Hewitt has heard his fair share of Swervedriver comparisons when reviewers, and music fans alike, describe his band’s shoegazing sound. “We get that a lot,” he says as the crowded New York City restaurant noise threatens to drown him out during the phone interview. “It’s one of those bands that I had never heard about until somebody referenced them but (guitarist) James (Wignall) grew up listening to them and he liked them a lot. I don’t think any of the other guys really listened to that band until it was referenced but we checked them out and they do sound great. I feel like there are elements of not only them but a lot of the other Creation bands.”

Comparisons to bands like Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine were first noted in 2012 when the band released two EPs, Coared and Sans (later packaged together under the title Extended Plays) and aren’t likely to go away anytime soon as earlier this year Cheatahs released their self-titled debut full length rich with sonically pleasing, reverb-drenched songs such as “Geographic”, “Get Tight” and “Cut Grass”.

The album was nearly completed when Cheatahs were invited to join the Waaves/FIDLAR tour package last spring. “We had recorded 80% of the album before we went on that tour,” Hewett says. “We got back and the label [Wichita UK] said it wasn’t going to come out until February 2014. We asked when the latest was that we could turn in the album and they said August so we spent the whole summer in the studio re-recording everything, changing songs, writing new ones. It came out a lot later than I thought it would have but I think that benefitted the end result. We’re in a much stronger place with better songs.”

Touring definitely helped Cheatahs strengthen their songs and, as it were, their relationships. “That was pretty much the most expensive touring we did as a band anywhere in the world,” Hewett admits but says, “We learned tons: the meat and potatoes of touring, crashing in the same room together, in the same van together. It was the galvanization of the band and it really helped shape and define this record and how we want to work from now on.”

Last winter, rather than sit ideally by and wait for the album to come out, Cheatahs toured Europe on what I consider to be a dream bill with SubPop’s blistering punk trio, Metz. While that billing isn’t likely to be repeated this summer in the U.S. due to Metz working on their sophomore album. Cheatahs are hoping to spend as much time on the road as possible playing festival shows in the U.S., U.K. and Europe even though Hewett says, “Nothing can beat a good room with proper sound and everybody there to see one band.”

No matter what size venue they perform at, I think a majority of The Big Takeover staff will agree that Cheatahs aren’t to be missed.

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