The Swan by Cheatahs (Single)
Cheatahs revamped single ‘The Swan’ is a heavier addition to the grunge revival, that features obscure influences that seep through
heatahs are a multi-cultural four-piece currently residing in London – James Wignall, Nathan Hewitt, Marc Raue Dresden and Dean Reid are from Canada, England, Germany and the US, respectively. The band originally came to life when Wignall and Hewitt first bonded over their love of hardcore punk music, while working at a pub in Camden. However, the outcome of that connection did not lead to a band of that genre.
Found in the centre of a triangle between grunge, post-hardcore and shoegaze, Cheatahs have supported the likes of Wavves and Eagulls around the US, bringing a heavier and harder attitude to the popular grunge revival. After touring with Wavves, the band came back eager to make an album and recorded new songs as well as reworking a collection of past songs, including live favourite and new single, The Swan.
Cheatahs offer more than a conventional rock song with The Swan. Where the band really differ is in the musicality and influence of their songs. The guitar riffs throughout are heavy and go off on technical tangents; from gaudy, almost hardcore riffs to shoe-gaze like patterns. The rhythm section also adheres to the same formula, highlighting how all members work together to produce the music that they want. The instrumental that ends the song really highlights this point.
Vocally, Wignall is understated and much more melodic. It’s a little on the quiet side, suggesting that for this band the music and feeling of the song is just as important. Compared to the original mix, the guitar is slightly different in variation and has a little more vigour in its already sharp step. The latest rendition of the track also has an interesting video, if you enjoy uncomfortable, cinematic accompaniment.
Wignall’s lyrics are influenced by the Yeats poem Leda And The Swan and apparently used the poem as a metaphor for “the obscene power that some people are accorded and the complete lack of accountability that sometimes goes with it.” A bold move for a young band, but it completely indicates the direction Cheatahs are going for. It’s a ballsy and hard-hitting statement to make.
Overall, The Swan is a brilliant, nostalgic song, for the twenty-somethings that grew up listening to a mixture of post-hardcore and grunge bands. However, Cheatahs have a lot more maturity and multi-cultured musicality that’s lacking in most bands of this stature.
Verdict: A wonderful blast of alt-rock sentimentality