For a record that is purported to be inspired by a collection of essays published in 1957 about semiotics and myth, Mythologies could stand to be a whole lot weirder. The second album from London guitar-rockers Cheatahs is less a psychotropic journey into the nature of communication and religion, more a well-made collection of shoegaze gone disco.

The standard for talking about this kind of music is always how “hazy” the guitars are, how “swirling” it all is. And, yes, the guitar tone on Mythologies is heavy on reverb and choral effects, but what’s more interesting is what goes on around and under them. Cheatahs display a focus on groove that is somewhat unprecedented for their genre. A better part of the record, “Freak Waves,” “Colorado” and “Seven Sisters,” especially, could be dance tracks in a different life. All three are built on a strong drum-bass connection that ground them and give the songs a home base to return to while the guitars moan on like washing machines. While it may keep from letting the songs drift off into mania, it makes them more immediately palatable.

The use of electronic elements is interesting as well. Cheatahs has a reputation for being a guitar rock band, and while no one who listens to Mythologies will come away from it thinking differently, the band is more willing to play with keyboard elements to expand their flavors of Ambien-induced hard rock. “Deli Rome,” in particular, gets a lot of miles out of its almost arcade-like tones; those elements, paired with the driving rhythm and the dramatic, almost Muse-esque guitars, make the song sound like the most sensory-heightened round of Cruis’n USA anyone has ever played.

Talking about world-building in the context of music is a weird thing. That concept is one usually left for visual media, but it’s something Cheatahs does exceptionally well on its sophomore album. All of its parts work well enough individually, but the album coalesces when it’s played in sequence, without interruption. Songs do tend to bleed into each other, especially within the first three or four tracks, but by the time you get to “Signs to Lorelei,” there is a propulsion that carries all the way through to “Reverie Bravo.”

Still, for all its strengths, it would not be unreasonable to call Mythologies a somewhat conventional shoegaze record. It boats some interesting elements and a hypnotic, recurring beat that pushes the record along, but it could use more left-field sound experiments, like the howling, jittery “Su-pra,” or the apropos-of-nothing language change of “Murasaki.” It would be hard to fault anyone for coming away from the record thinking it more a traditional rock record than the band evidently set out to make. On their own, these two elements could be seen as out-of-context wackiness for wackiness’ sake. In the context of Mythologies, they are closer to the personal truths that the band is seemingly reaching for than the rest of its well-made guitar rock.

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