Not wishing to damn with faint praise or anything, but this has got some great string arrangements....

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Rufus Wainwright

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Rufus Wainwright

NOT WISHING TO DAMN WITH FAINT PRAISE OR ANYTHING, but this has got some great string arrangements. Drafting in Nick Drake associate Robert Kirby to add beautiful, baroque violins to your tunes is fine if those songs aren’t lost beneath the orchestra. Unfortunately, Catchers’ tunes are far from catchy [I](Save our sides – Ed)[/I]. Rather, this Irish five-piece specialise in the kind of irritatingly earnest noodlings which you find soundtracking ‘intense’ moments on [I]Dawson’s Creek[/I].

This album is Catchers’ attempt to update the fractured hooks of ‘Green’-era REM for the post-‘Everything Must Go’ anthem brigade. On songs such as ‘Call Her Name’ and ‘Deflect’, this potentially thrilling idea is just about realised, as Dale Grundle and Alice Lemon’s interlocking harmonies add a refreshing pop rush to their uptight songs. But for the most part, ‘Stooping To Fit’ makes for uncomfortable listening, sounding like The Sundays losing a fistfight to Placebo.

Grundle’s lyrics are equally frustrating, tiptoeing the fine line between intimate confession and pretentious abstraction. A sharp, revealing phrase ([I]”I gotta switch off to get on”[/I]) is overshadowed by too much clunky, pseudo-poetic imagery ([I]”In a bed of ghosts and dead skin/We kill the clock and kiss”[/I]).

After the final song there’s a short horn instrumental, sexy and simple, like a disembodied Portishead sample lost on the wrong album. If only the previous 50 minutes were as touching, Catchers might beguile more listeners.

Still, you know… great strings.