THE CAT EMPIRE – Steal The Light
aaamusic | On 14, Oct 2013
The Cat Empire is a six-piece Australian band, at least in part formed in 1999 (the band went through a few structural changes), with a sound mixed between ska, jazz, funk, indy and rock, with a Latin influence. The band has come a long way since that awful single ‘Hello’ back in 2003. Considering this was all I knew from them when I was given their new album they had a lot to prove. Steal The Light is an extremely pleasant surprise.
The album opens with ‘Brighter than Gold’, which has a chorus that Flo Rida could only dream of. According to iTunes this the most liked/well known track on the album. It does the job of setting the tone for the rest of the dance-fuelled 48 minutes. I am always intrigued to hear the single after which the album is named. ‘Steal the Light’ is a catchy track, where the vocals sound almost muffled and old fashioned. The build up to the chorus has a very satisfying end, with full trumpets blaring. ‘Brighter than Gold’ has a festival feel and the album achieves a party and sunshine atmosphere without trying too hard. Every song is perfectly crafted and sits seamlessly together, despite sounding so different.
Before I checked the roles of each band member, I was puzzled at how the lead vocalist could make his voice sound different. It wasn’t until I learnt that there are in fact two lead vocalists in The Cat Empire where one singer sounds like Chris Martin with a stronger vocal, while the other sounds like Gnarls Barkley.
The band seems to have taken inspiration from everywhere, with Lion King themes in ‘Wild Animals’. ‘Don’t Throw Your Hands Up’ opens with an introduction, which is reminiscent of “Cats the Musical”, which seems fitting considering the band’s name. ‘All Night Loud’ is the surprising slow track, sounding like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ ‘Home’ mixed with Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’.
I love when albums finish with a good night/ thank you song. It always makes me feel as though the album has completed its journey. ‘All Night Loud’ is this track for The Cat Empire. This is without a doubt my favourite track off Steal The Light. I am a sucker for the one song on an album that sticks out as different and ‘All Night Loud’ shows the band’s versatility.
I have listened to this album over and over and still haven’t gotten sick of it. I would rave about each track individually but nobody likes an unending review. If The Cat Empire continues in this way, ‘Hello’ will be just a distant unpleasant memory.