EP Review: Cheatahs, 紫 (Murasaki)


Chloe Mayne checks out the latest EP from cross-continental four-piece, Cheatahs:

It’s kind of exhilarating when a small jewel like this one washes up on my shore. At a petite four tracks and fifteen minutes, Murasaki swoops overhead like a shadow, cutting out like a switch before you can quite wrap your fingers around it. It’s short, sweet, effervescent – and the impact and impression that it leaves on the tongue in this brief window is magnificent.

Named after the 11th-century Japanese writer Murasaki Shibiku, whose very act of penning was a rebellion in the face of the gender norms of her time, the EP is at least partly inspired by Shibuku’s highly-acclaimed novel The Tale of Genji. There’s an elegance in this entangling that somehow carries across in the delicacies of the EP.

Opening and title track ‘Murasaki’ takes the best of My Bloody Valentine and shoots it skyward, drums pulsing and tapping incessantly as siren-like synth howls push to reverie. The rise and fall between the sung verses and instrumental chorus gives the track the sensation of breathing, a steady push into bright but monocoloured dreamscapes much like that on the cover. At five minutes this is far and away the longest track, and perhaps the most magical. An imagining of the first meeting of bassist Dean Reid’s parents in Kyoto, it splits down the middle like a mandarin to form halves; one sung in Japanese, the other English.

‘3D Milk’ is a baffling, bedazzling sprawl of loops and analogue beats that stretches out like a web, almost-indecipherable vocals weaving in and out of synth circles. Final track ‘Wash Out’ is described by the band as being “as close to a bad acid trip as we’ll probably be able to soundtrack”. Its garagey undertones give it a slightly more accessible feel than the songs preceding it, but only just; it morphs and turns with snake-like motions as it burrows the EP back into the enchanted depth from which it emerged.

紫 (Murasaki) will be released on May 4, and you can preorder it here. In the meantime, catch Cheatahs at one of their upcoming European dates:

Sunday, 10 May 2015 – Birmingham, The Hare & Hounds
Monday, 11 May 2015 – London, Oslo
Wednesday, 13 May – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
Thursday, 14 May – York, The Fulford Arms
Friday, 15 May – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
Saturday, 16 May – Bristol, The Louisiana
Wednesday, 20 May – Brighton, Prince Albert
Thursday, 21 May – Bruges, Cactus Club w/ The Hickey Underworld
Tuesday, 26 May – Bordeaux, Rock School Barbey
Thursday, 28 May – Barcelona, Primavera Sound

Chloe Mayne


Review by Chloe Mayne.