Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes

An unsettlingly melodic triumph

Wander into any London basement playing tunes worth getting excited about in the last five years, and chances are you’d have tripped over a Horror. Much like spiritual forefathers Primal Scream, The Horrors’ enthusiasm for new influences bleeds into all they do, making for records that are triumphs of spirit over ability. Trust me: as a whole, or maybe from one of them, their ‘Screamadelica’ is coming.

This isn’t it, but it’s a mightily seductive step along the way. The product of Faris Badwan teaming up with Canadian soprano Rachel Zeffira to make mid-’60s girl group-inspired songs, the twist comes when their enthusiasm for such things is teamed with his The Horrors’ fetish for discordant Joe Meek noise. ‘Not A Friend’, in particular, is straight out of Joe’s Holloway Road studio-cum-science lab. There are brilliant songs for certain – ‘Best Person I Know’, ‘I Knew It Was Over’ – but the charm is in the delicacy.

So many elements fall in and out of the mix: the pianos on ‘I’m Not Stupid’ are backed with a distant note of tremolo guitar and strings in the foreground; ‘Sooner Or Later’ is full of Spacemen 3 feedback; ‘The Lull’ is DIY Bacharach/David; ‘Over You’ contains a rubbery beat group bassline, and some strange instrument that only reveals itself after multiple listens – when there are flaws in the songwriting your attention is elsewhere.

Faris deserves for this to become more than just a curio in The Horrors’ catalogue: it’s warm, out-there pop that was worth all the care and attention that has been invested in it.

Hamish MacBain


8 / 10

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