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Music Reviews

Catman Cohen

Catman Cohen

The Catman Chronicles 2: How I Want to Live

Keevay Music

A follow-up to The Catman Chronicles 1: How I Want to Die, this second volume tells us how Catman Cohen wants to live. While the title track starts off the album, “Water is Blood” really sets the tone for this socially-conscious undertaking, the second from the Catman Project. The theme this time around focuses on the upcoming fresh water shortage. Headed up by the enigmatic singer/songwriter Catman Cohen, the group aims to move music from vacuous entertainment back to being a force for change. Their success will have to be determined at a later time, for now, I can focus only on the music.

Catman himself sounds like a cross between Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, a raspy bullfrog voice that grabs your attention. He speaks rather than sings his way through the tracks he takes the lead on. While his voice has a strong quality, I could see getting tired of it rather quickly. Thankfully, he realizes this too, and has several other members of the Project handle vocals throughout the album. It ranges from simply having background vocals liven the space behind him on the title track, to a lovely counterpoint/harmony between Catman and Simone Simmons on “Dancing With Mr. Daddy” to “My Key to the Stars,” a heartbreaker sung by Jimmy Swan.

The songs range from catchy (“Dancing With Mr. Daddy”) to funny (“Vegas Pussy”) to inspiring (“Water is Blood”), to all three at once (“Captain of Industry”) and are all worth at least one listen. I will admit that I was disappointed in the cover of Five for Fighting’s “Superman (It’s Not Easy)”. While dedicating the song to everyday heroes (firefighters, police, teachers, nurses, etc.) is a touching sentiment, Catman’s spoken-word delivery just doesn’t impress me on this one.

In keeping with the focus on fresh water, Catman plans to donate 20% of the profits from the CD to two organizations focused on water education and the prevention of privatization. If music that takes some chances and tries for some social responsibility appeals to you, maybe you can help a few folk singers change the world.

Catman Cohen: www.catmancohen.com

Categories
Music Reviews

“Catman” Cohen

“Catman” Cohen

The Catman Chronicles 1: How I Want To Die

Keevay Music

It’s an interesting mixture: ethereal female vocals over a vaguely new age sound layer, covered with gritty street lyrics and a gravelly voice back-up. The press release for this disc is incredibly mystical and after a few paragraphs one wonders if a face-to-face meeting with “Catman” would be anything other than seriously weird. Mr. “Catman” Cohen uses what he calls the “Yahweh Chord,” which is sort of a D7 with a lot of baggage. What he gets from this chord and some talented back-up is a creepy, yet full sound with a definite ’80s lounge feel. The lyrics show this is not about love and blow, but murder and senseless death in the streets. There’s a 9-11 angle as well, and if you put this on as background for a party you might not notice the message. It’s not exactly subliminal, but it’s tricky and not a bad job. I’d almost like to see a ’90s digital animation backdrop for the music.

“Catman” Cohen: www.catmancohen.com