By Cats and Cats and Cats
When I first saw Cats and Cats and Cats live 3 years ago supporting Forward, Russia at The Cockpit I knew I'd found a band that I was going to love for life, I bought everything that they had brought out and have done to this day, so when the opportunity arose to review their latest release I jumped at the chance, and was not disappointed.
The album opens with 'Speckled Eggs For Speckled Lovers,' a great violin intro leads into poetic lyrics that only Cats and Cats and Cats can come up with. Although the opening track is short it seems to give everything a normal song by this band does, loud sections, quiet sections, brilliant lyrics and an odd structure, and it leads very well into the next track.
Return to Danger Castle sounds like it could have fit in on their spilt record with This Town Needs Guns, it is very much like how they used to sound compared to their first album, which is in no way a bad thing. I think it is the most accessible song that this band has ever written, it would work well to get people into the band who haven't listened previously.
Next song The Projectionist is probably my favourite song on this album, jumpy pop music with an accordion may not sound like a good thing to many people, but to me this is a brilliant example of what this band can do. This is a song that would work well live in any venue, regardless of size, which for a small indie band is quite an achievement.
The next track starts off with layered guitar parts and then group vocals come in, it sets the a dark atmosphere. This song continues this way all the way through getting slightly louder throughout, building up to the next song, The Seaweed Brother, which includes some strange sections, almost as if it's improvised, but it fits so well you know that it has been properly structured.
Next is 'For The Love Of The Mechanical Bears,' an instrumental song which layers xylophone and accordion, even though this is a short, interlude style song, it could work as a song on it's own, if it had lyrics it could sound like a song that could be sung at sea.
'O' Science' is a song that we got a sneak peak of before the album was released, it starts with a jumpy part played by all instruments, all of which compliment each other, they then go into a very well structured call and response section, leading into the singers coming in, this is definitely the song on the album for people who really enjoyed the band's debut.
Celebration is next, this song reminds me of Vampire Weekend for some reason, it is full of build ups and it makes me think of 'Cousins' by Vampire Weekend, despite it sounding nothing like it. Don't let the Vampire Weekend reference put you off, I just don't know what to say about this song other than that. It is still a very good song, but I think it is probably the weak song of the album (this still makes it better than most things that have come out this year)
'Christmas Lions' continues where 'Celebration' left off, and then instantly kicks into a standard Cats and Cats and Cats slow song, this one is almost waltz like, you could easily imagine yourself dancing to this one at a gig, a very good pop song in an odd time signature.
The next song is 'Match Of The Day,' the intro to this is reminiscent of something label-buddies Shield Your Eyes would write, this then goes into a group vocal harmony building up to some more brilliant call and response male and female vocals over a constantly building up backing.
'Olympus Mons' is up next and starts off almost folk like (not Mumford and Sons, real folk.) Another instrumental piece, it slowly turns away from folk and back into the downbeat pop feel that the rest of the album has, another good one for people who have liked this band for years to listen to, I don't think this song will appeal to first time listeners as much.
Penultimate track 'Zoomercroom' is another jumpy pop song, something that this band is particularly good at, This song unfortunately feels like a bit of a filler track before the final track 'Come Home.' It doesn't seem to have as many ideas as the rest of the album does, however as I said for the track 'Celebration,' being a not-good track on this album is still better than being on most other albums so far this year.
Final track 'Come Home' comes in at 11 minutes long, I was worried that this might be a bit ambitious on an album where the next longest song is only just over 5 minutes, however it is packed with ideas and works very well as the album closer, and builds up to a brilliant distorted ending which sounds triumphant somehow, towards the end the distortion seems to deteriorate into just noise, but somehow that works as the end to the album.
All in all 'Motherwhale' is a brilliant pop record, one of my favourite records of the year, I hope these guys get the recognition they deserve one day soon.