The London based, internationally diverse band Cheatahs comprises of Canadian Nathan Hewitt (vocals, guitar), English James Wignall (guitar, vocals), American Dean Reid (bass, vocals) and German Marc Raue (drums). The song "Coared" is taken from their debut EP of the same name.
The influence I found most apparent on listening to "Coared" (the song) is an American nineties alternative rock sound, reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth or The Foo Fighters. This sound is audible in the chord progressions and grainy guitar sound that brings to mind images of Kurt Cobain smashing up Fenders.
In contrast to this “American” sound is the video which depicts 1980’s Britain through the home videos of a particular stereotypical family. The video begins with a garden scene full of reluctant but tame family members being prompted to wave to the camera. Soon audio and visual static interrupts before the cyclical guitar riff enters becoming a soundtrack to an edited version of the family’s life. The audio and the visual don’t complement each other particularly well, although there is synchronisation between shots and the music’s movement. This disconnection of audio and visual is evident because the scenes of domesticity seem a little too sweet, making the song seem a proposed soundtrack to a blissful childhood which initially undermines the nature of the song demonstrated through the subtle shifts of tone between pleasant and broody. This broodiness however begins to become more apparent in the visuals as they cut between self interested children and a granddad looking utterly depressed in a wheelchair with a nebuliser. This contrast of the manic activity of the children against the complete inactivity of the granddad highlights the duality of the song's expression quite fittingly.
The music alternates between a vocally deadpan verse and catchy chorus, making good use of the rock instrumental grouping and the non-lead vocalists. The result is a rounded sound that is distorted enough to have an edge but malleable enough to absorb thoughtlessly. An instrumental then leads the song and video down a destructive path that I found really enjoyable to watch. The chaos and reopened wounds of familial relations begin to take precedence over the blissful scenes of what were once little angels and etiquette admiral adults. It is an entertaining shift and one that is relatable to a whole host of family gatherings that often start off with the strategic construction of social pleasantries yet quickly demise into mania and disregard.
As this shift becomes more and more apparent the music grows wilder and deteriorates into bursts and screeches, making that initial discomfort between the audio and visual connection disappear, and giving way to a wonderful representation of what the visuals portray. The visuals begin to play with sepia and cut from the home video footage to television shows and static gradually becoming an uncontrollable, dysfunctional, dystopia; a complete reverse of the videos opening.
I love the structured demise in this video;
it is like a gradual scraping away at the veneer of civility, something which
music has always had a wonderful ability to do. The song is one that has the
deserved capacity to capitalise on its ability to be very listenable through
its relation to the American alt rock nineties giants. That’s not to say the
band have nothing new to offer, I believe they do and that’s why I look forward
to hearing the rest of the tracks. The EP is out now and can be downloaded here.