Cat Spectacular


From the opening shot of Japanese conversation tape excerpts through the blissed-out guitar, orchestral strings and springtime woodwinds on “Welcome Bearsuit Spacehotel,” Cat Spectacular plays like the reflection of the last ten years of the sunny side of indie pop. There’s a weird grandeur in the shambolic sounds these British folks have cobbled together, in the swaggering false endings to songs that never rise above aimlessness to begin with. The band’s talent runs deeper than their obvious borderline attention deficiency, displaying some great songwriting skills on “Cherryade,” a Belle & Sebastian-styled lilt through an English meadow that gets waylaid down an alley of punk fury to close out its last 30 seconds. Possibly the best song on here, “Going Steady” cycles through each individual instrument track on the mixing board before allowing them all to coalesce into a caffeinated poppy mess. “Itsuko Got Married” is a close runner-up, beginning as a staccato boy/girl a cappella, blooming into signature raw noise on the verses and even managing to squeeze in a whistled bridge. It’s the band’s casualness as they tread the line between elegance and catastrophe that makes them so compelling. If we’re searching for a label for this type of music, manic twee feels like a close fit. This might seem counterintuitive, as “twee” usually connotes a distinct lack of hyperactivity, but even the most bookish need to cut loose every once in a while, and this is certainly the album for it.


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