Lovely pair eh? That’s Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira; the co-conspiritors of Cat’s Eyes. But when they put their heads together, it’s more than just a shower of shiny hair. They make leather-coated English Doo-Wop that would be well ok to bring to your Grandmother’s church. She might even shake her pew-sitter a bit. But what’s even more fantastic, is that Badwan and Zeffira are far over qualified to make music, in a Rick Rubin and Björk kind of way. The two met through mutual friends and bonded over mix tapes. It’s the modern romance. Badwan is the formerly goth-afro-ed leader of (Mercury nominated) The Horrors turned acid-trip rocker. He’s a purveyor of the evening. And Rahel Zeffira is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist Opera soprano. A Canadian classically trained multi-instrumentalist Opera soprano. They do that up there? Humph. We spoke before of their very first live performance in the Vatican, with the POPE included in the crowd. It turns out Zeffira had studied in Rome for a bit, even sung for Pope John Paul the 2nd during that time.
Is this a new trend? You won’t ever be hip and tragically validated until you’ve done The Pope gig? –Have you sung for da Pope yet? Pssshhh, no. I hafta go to confessional or somethin’ first.–
That would actually be neat.
Since we featured “Not A Friend” (available for free here), Cat’s Eyes have released an EP titled Broken Glass; four songs that represent the band’s scope well. It has a desert road scene fading into a Punk Doc fading into a Parisian walk (slow) along the Seine feel to it. It’s very fine. Highlights for me were all of it.
Cat’s Eyes – ‘Cat’s Eyes’ by nmemagazine
And now, but already in England, they have a self-titled record coming out. It includes half the EP, “Not A Friend” and the track from the Popeperformance (new word/also synonymous with a swell smelling whiff you get during a concert). But it also offers bunches more with the luxurious “I’m Not Stupid”, the whomping “Bandit” and the aptly named “The Lull”. And it goes on from there. Rachel Zeffira is featured as lead vocal on a majority of the album, which is NOT a loss. In “Face In the Crowd” she trades blows with Badwan and then one ups him with backing reverb and wallpaper croon. She’s the new rising star of the Dust-Pop genre.
If there’s a weak spot, it would be “Sooner or Later”, simply due to it’s oddity in context to the rest of the record. It’s the black swan (a well-established saying) in the bunch.
Tacked on at the end, as if a bonus, is a live performance of “Lucifer Sam”, a respectable cover of the Pink Floyd song. About a cat. Hmmmm. There’s a connection there…
So in this case, overqualified is akin to satisfied perfection. Cat’s Eyes has some of your probable favorite songs of 2011 on it, reaching even further – in my mind- for album of the year.
(Cat’s Eyes is available in the U.S. 5/17/11 via Downtown Records)