3.5 out of 5 Stars!
I vividly recall reading a ton of praise-worthy material in magazines such as Kerrang! back in the early ’80s when it came to this Australian band, a slamming Hard Rock outfit fronted by two sassy and spirited sisters, Lyndsay and Chrissie Hammond, and backed by five male musicians. Based on the various reviews and tidbits of information I’d read about the band during the early “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” era—the movement into which Cheetah found itself included, whether deservedly or not—I picked up the group’s debut album, Rock & Roll Women, and never once regretted it.
Granted, unlike Cheetah’s sensual image and its uncommon lineup, there’s nothing at all innovative about the music itself—the band came across as sort of a female-fronted Slade or AC/DC, not surprising due to the group’s association with the legendary Vanda & Young production and songwriting team). Nevertheless, Cheetah possessed a special “fun factor” when it came to the mostly upbeat material and the robust performances and song arrangements, and the girls kicked major ass with their raw, brash, and forceful voices. In fact, at first hearing, I recall being not only stunned at their often muscular and gut-wrenching delivery, but also initially confused—were the females shown on the album cover actually the ones belting out the lyrics? Indeed, not until the sisters started hitting notes in the higher registers could I undeniably confirm the singers weren’t actually guys due to the gruff nature of the vocals.
Anyway, there wasn’t anything controversial or shocking or overly phenomenal about this band, other than the fact that the two gorgeous sisters could have owned such powerful and mannish voices and the music was catchy as hell. This was especially true on the straightforward rockers such as “Bang Bang,” “My Man,” “Suffering Love,” “N.I.T.E.,” “I’m Yours,” and the driving title track. Additionally, the mid-tempo semi-ballad “Spend the Night,” which was released as the first single from the album, supposedly made a small impact in the band’s Australia, and (in my opinion) could have been a gigantic hit in more countries on the globe if only anyone had paid attention.
But sadly, the band fizzled shortly after this album’s release. Cheetah had so much potential for success if only someone at the record label had figured out a way to properly market such a unique act.