Highlights: The Best Person I Know, I’m Not Stupid, Face In The Crowd, Not A Friend, Over You
The reason why it took me so long to get Cat’s Eyes’ eponymous record lies in the fact that I don’t much care for The Horrors. A capable band, no doubt about that, but they are also pretty average, overhyped and one of many. So who could have guessed that that band’s singer and songwriter, Faris Badwan, had it in him, a fine collection of exquisite, sophisticated pop compositions?
Cat’s Eyes is likely to be a one-off project where Badwan and Canadian opera singer Rachel Zeffira collaborate on ten brief songs inspired by a number of 60’s girl groups. Think The Seekers, but with a colder and more artsy edge. It’s also a very calculated, very precise affair. For all its lovely vibes and lovely little melodies, Cat’s Eyes doesn’t really work on an emotional level. But you can relate to it intellectually. Subtle pop tunes like “The Best Person I Know” or “Over You” (the catchiest, most immediate song on the album) are more or less perfect, from Rachel’s chilling falsetto to delicate orchestration, and only hollow, atmospheric tracks like the gothic “Sooner Or Later” and dreamy and lethargic “The Lull” let it all down slightly.
Cat’s Eyes is a cold and masterfully executed set of charming and claustrophobic confections that threaten to be style over substance, but deliver enough clever, understated hooks and melodies to win you over. I’d give this one a low eight. It doesn't quite overwhelm you, but you do feel intrigued.