This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Cat’s Eyes April 16, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
It starts with a jangling sitar sound, a sample that goes ‘Let me tell you something’ and then a drum beat not a million miles from the Jesus and Mary Chain’s early to mid-period before male and female vocals intertwine in what is… a 1960s inflected pop song.
Yeah, it’s Cat’s Eyes, a collaboration between Horrors front man Faris Badwan and Canadian opera singer Rachel Zeffira. But while it nods to Badwan’s notable love of dark alternative, there’s little of Zeffira’s usual musical terrain incorporated into the sound.
And that may be no bad thing. There’s a nicely sinuous feel to the music, Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood are mentioned in despatches around the project and it’s not entirely incorrect – there’s more than a touch of that on songs like The Best Person I Know. But then again Badwan isn’t afraid to unleash his, clearly not too restrained, inner goth. Some may like his essentially solo track ‘Sooner or Later’ where he appears to be simultaneously attempting to channel Nick Cave and Ian Curtis in their more atonal moments but not this listener (though Face in the Crowd where he mostly takes lead vocals makes up for it). It’s not that grit is bad, indeed in music like this it is necessary to prevent it merely being saccharine, but less is more.
But for the most part it is 60s girl group – albeit refracted through a much more contemporary musical prism – all the way and all the better for it. Sonically it is a treat, layers of reverberating sounds that shimmer and fade. It’s shoe gaze, but not. Pop, but not. Zeffira’s vocals are fantastic, treated on most tracks so they waft dream like through the songs. But if that seems to suggest they’re muted or in some sense detached that would be to do the songs a disservice. There’s real feeling in tracks like I’m Not Stupid – aided in no small way by propulsive strings. And for all that Badwan missteps on Sooner or Later on other tracks like The Lull his vocals are excellent too (though what’s this, why does Peter Skellern come to mind? That can’t be right).
They recently gate-crashed an event at Buckingham Palace. This appears to be a habit they have in generating PR. Last time it was the…er… Vatican.
They’ve done a soundtrack – natch, and mightily well received it was too. There’s a new album later this year (and a kind of disturbing video for the first single ‘Drag’ from it – be advised) – if it matches the best of this it should be great.
The Best Person I Know
Face in the Crowd
I’m Not Stupid
Love You Any Anyway (ep track)