Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes
An unsettlingly melodic triumph
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.
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album