Friday, July 19, 2013

Cat Party : S/T

What strikes me off the bat about the Costa Mesa band Cat Party is that while they are obviously a part of the 80's post-punk, death rock revival they are not trying to be the next Joy Division or Sisters of Mercy, they don't shun their influences but they don't seek to imitate them either.

They opener "Tar and Feathers" has a lot of  drive and doesn't shy on the melody. You could put them in the same graveyard as  New Model Army of even Alkaline Trio but really in a feel sort of way more than any direct comparisons. 'Jigsaw Thoughts" is heavy on the punk of post punk and is the first song where the guitar phrasing sounds like someone you can point directly at and that would Christian Death. Though the other elements present keep this from being too obvious. Sure, there are genre staples like the bass leading the way and the drums floating between being a dance beat and a punk beat.

They really stand out on their own when they take melodic explorations and let the chords ring out like in
"Further into the Ordinary", where they bass and guitar have the type of interplay that made the Smiths so catchy but delivered more like Echo and the Bunnymen. The guitar tone on this album is incredible, the bass is npot shabby either. The vocals might win over those who are on the fence and often feel other death rock bands are too over dramatic...I know thats the point of goth, but not everyone gets it or is into picking up dead flowers in October so I can see where Cat Party might have an appeal that goes beyond this.

"Still Life" has more of a punk grit to it and is the dirtied up junkie sounds you commonly think of with this tragic affair. It is almost like the easy way out for these guys to step into this role as it fits the genre almost too closely and doesn't play to what I hear as their strength. "Entitled" is dark and a more straightforward chug but the vocals go into a more Jesus and the Mary Chain place. This works better than the previous song as the melody is more relaxed and sways on top o the guitar rather than being a slave to the riff. The bass line is haunted by Sisters of Mercy but no a seriously as some of Night Sins riffs.

"A Product of the Eighties" sees the band stray back towards the more punk side of what they do . They
do name check Pee Herman in the song, so they get a point for that alone. There is also a 90's indie rock vibe to this song and creeping around the edges, as in Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth.  " the Aftertaste" allows their guitars to float into a more reverb drenched place for the melancholy to be sans any trace of black eye liner and take on more of the 90's slacker vibe. I do admire the fact they go about this retaining the shadow side to the melody. The song does take off into almost a Mudhoney like grunge bent for a sec here and there in the build.

On "Oblong Blue" the band steps back into the more introspective side of melody and I think as song writers this is where they flourish in finding the most complete picture of there identity. The closet thing I find the guitar on the verse to sound like is Chelsea Wolfe. There is the smattering of rust and grunge on the chorus, but nothing feels contrived in the execution.

The chords to "Dead Weight" have a Cure like ring to them , but the vocals off set any comparisons that could be made and the bass heavy mix is the only thing that justify any of these Joy Division comparisons I see liked to the band. The bass playing is really stellar as a whole and on this song it offers to melody to create a cool sonic layer against the guitar. The nineties post- grunge indie feel is really predominate on the closer " Let the Bullets Fly Through".  Overall I'll round this one up to a 9 and see how it grows on me , I think the song writing it bound to fit my normally glum mood and its not too dark for summer listening.


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