It seems Denver has finally turned out a band to fulfill the
promise of the early 90's noise-rock/shoegaze underground movement.
Building on the foundation laid over a decade ago by bands like
The Czars, The Christines, Twice Wilted,
and New Ben Franklins - and more recently by alt. country/dreampop
crossover bands like Red Cloud - Cat-A-Tac lays
down an album full of gazey goodness laced with the same poppy
niceties that made shoegaze the genre of choice for many Brit-heads
of the past.
The record begins with a swirling pop number called "Needles
And Pins" that spins up some fine glossy guitar work and
the same laid-back scrubbing as the slower 99th Dream era
Swervedriver tunes while featuring background vocals that
remind of the finest moments of The Dandy Warhols. There
are moments of shoegaze brilliance scattered throughout the album,
including the Ride-like wall of sound beauty of "Burned"
and the Adorable-esque pop of the title track. On "Alone",
Cat-A-Tac channels the spirit of slow-mo greats Slowdive
and My Bloody Valentine. The vocal melodies float lithely
above the walls of guitars and sound strongly akin to The Red
House as they weave in and out of the sonic storm. The songs
have the steadiest of rhythm sections, ably doing its job of anchoring
the sound perfectly while sounding fresh and relevant. The guitars
vary from darkly distorted to jangling clean and the vocals are
mostly legible as they move through these fine tunes, rather than
being buried in the walls of guitars as in so much shoegaze.
While the songs on Past Lies And Former Lives bear resemblance
to past shoegaze bands, what really makes Cat-A-Tac stand out
is their ability to make the sound their very own. While they
draw heavily from and anchor their music in the style of the bands
of the past, they fuse the sounds and rhythms into a cohesive
mass of brilliant sonic goodness that propels the shoegaze movement
into the future
giving hope to those of us that long for
those days of sonic bliss that were here and then gone.
Long live the 'gaze!
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