Cat-A-Tac “Past Lies And Former Lives”

Album Reviews | May 21st, 2007

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Record Label: Needlepoint Records
Genre: Shoegaze
Band Link: link
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I knew Cat-A-Tac would be good because their name is a palindrome, but I expected decent hipper-than-thou, listless garage. Instead, Cat-A-Tac plays mature and charming shoegazer rock.

At their most spirited, they have that American-style Britpop/psychrock thing going with clean vocals over bright, fuzzy guitars a la Dandy Warhols (“Needles and Pins”, “Burned”). But Cat-A-Tac aren’t afraid to keep it simple, bring it down a notch, or add warm, hypnotic drone; they might even be better when they channel Echo & the Bunnymen (“Alone”, “All I Knew”) or sleepy Galaxie 500 (“Respite”, “Powder”, “Jesus Won’t Save You And I”). The Smiths, The Cure, and REM also seem to be kindred spirits.

It goes without saying that the vocals are excellent – they have to be in this genre. Ian McCulloch of the Bunnymen and the dude from Simple Minds came to mind – that sort of low register and perfectly understated delivery that manages to be both emotionally open and cooly distant.

This is serious pop, and it’s seriously good. It’s interesting to compare them to my other recent Pick – The Well Wishers. Where the Well Wishers are jangly and summer-day fun, Cat-A-Tac are for cloudy day introverted meanderings. Yet both strike a chord with masterful, astute songwriting and powerfully rich melodies.

Bottom Line: Warm, fuzzy pop melodies, deep vocals, and pleasant drone combine wonderfully.
Notable Tracks: Title track, Burned, Alone, Credit Whore, Jesus Won’t Save You And I
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