Give me a D! Give me an E! Give me a…. Ok basically I was going to spell Demos but the repetition would probably have gotten on your nerves. So, getting to the point, Demos – the starting point of any aspiring group, artist or producer. They are your buzz-maker, your informal greeting and your slightly awkward bio page all rolled in to one. If an artist is going to progress in to the realms of Major-Label-Dom (or if one is too hipster for this thou shalt aim towards Respected-Indie-Label-Dom) then the demos have to be top-notch or at least demonstrate some noticeable potential.
Therefore say a welcoming H.E.L.L.O to music newcomers, Cheerleaders (hence all my earlier letter-based chant efforts). For starters they’re a three piece outfit based in Leeds, a city that’s sprung forth a whole plethora of indie/alt bands like Pulled Apart by Horses, Wild Beasts and Hadouken! with the former of those three being a pretty good reference point to this, Cheerleaders’ early sound.
Puzzles is the only song released on their soundcloud page thus far and, at just under two minutes, it aims to be an explosive calling card to whet potential fan appetites. Early sections are promising and I particularly liked the change up in tempo around halfway in so as a starter song, it is doing the job. The vocals are reminiscent of Dananananaykroyd in places (although the actual lyrical content doesn’t particularly go anywhere) whilst the guitar melodies, though in their bare bones, have something of a rawer We Are Scientists about them. Quick mention to the longer B-Side The Shark, which dare I say it, is a better constructed piece and shows off the lyrical and vocal side of Cheerleaders much better than Puzzles - perhaps giving a fleeting glimpse into what the band have cooking up behind the scenes.
The only thing I’d say is that these early demos are yet to put the true Cheerleaders stamp in terms of sound and direction. I’m hearing ‘middle ground’, which is fine at this early stage but not hugely substantial in the long-run. Indie and rock has such a huge spectrum, it’s always the question – where to go? Do Cheerleaders brush up the melodies and turn shouts into something nearer to harmonies a la Dinosaur Pile up or Biffy Clyro’s more recent endeavours? Or should they say ‘fuck all that’ and go for balls-out shouting and screaming over heavy guitar fuzz something akin to Gallows? It’s tricky without a doubt but there decisions to be made and experiments to do – that’s what starting out in music is all about.
They’re keeping it very low-key at the moment and that, to me, shows positive signs that they want to be completely happy with where their material is heading. The fact they set up their own live shows at the moment too at least proves they’re committed to making Cheerleaders a success off their own backs. As a first spark, there are glimmers of promise there but they’ll need to R.A.M.P it up and T.U.R.N it out in time for the big release.