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Cats In Space: Scarecrow

The older I get, the more I seem to reach back for a musical sound that pre-dates my listening possibilities. For while I was alive when Sparks, 10cc, Supertramp, ELO, or Queen were in their pomp, I was too young to truly appreciate (if I even heard) their output. Add in Angel, Boston, John Lawton fronted Uriah Heep and City Boy and you could wrap up Cats In Space and give them as the perfect 70s flavoured gift. Scarecrow is the band's second album, the stunning Too Many Gods smooth, slick, catchy and clever enough to suggest this lot might just be the real deal. Well, Scarecrow seals it, a collection of ten skillfully crafted cuts whisking you back to a time when bands could create what in truth is progressive pop craziness and have the masses lap it up as though it was the latest flavour of Creamola Foam!

Not one of the ten cuts lets the album down in any shape or form, an ever evolving shimmer of sounds stunningly produced (man, does this album sound simply huge, or what???) as it creates a cohesive journey in a way that few bands could hope to achieve these days. So where shall we start? The powering Brian May like riffs and soaring vocal harmonies, of "Broken Wing"? Maybe the hook laden Abba on steroids of "September Rain" as it jingles, jangles and grabs you by the jooglies? Or the slow build of "Jupiter Calling", which takes its time to become a Boston like mid-pacer crammed with glistening vocals and more hooks then the local crane parts depot – and the temerity to add a Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter" like vocal break? Add in a dextrous rip up and down the fretboard in the latter and really, you should be sold on this album already.

No?? Really???? OK, then let's bung the clatter of piano keys and darting riffs of "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" that combines City Boy to ELO via Queen, and the patient seduction of "Scars" and its utterly beautiful chorus and huge drums, into the mix. Oh, yes! The drums! It's been a long time since I heard a percussive display that doesn't waste a single snare smack, cymbal crash or rattle of the toms; in fact so much so that air-drums is now under consideration as an Olympic Sport! So let's all doff our caps to Steevi Bacon! While we're name-checking (we are, aren't we?), we need to wheel out Paul Manzi and tell him his vocals are stunning (he probably knows already), while the amazing backing harmonies take his contributions and raise them to heights that, well, only cats in space could see! But let's not forget Greg Hart and Dean Howard's guitars as they remind of May, Lynne, Scholz and Wellington Womble (OK, maybe not Wellington Womble), the big thrumming lad that is Jeff Brown as he aims his bass at the 70s rock defibrillator and shouts 'and… clear!!', although 'take cover' might be closer to his booming mark. And then there's Andy, or as his Mum calls him, 'you 'orrible little boy, 'ave you washed yer 'ands??', maybe we should settle for Mr. Stewart, who is very 'andy at the old Joanna; his piano cajolings never far from the front as they cover the rear.

Have I mentioned "Two Fifty Nine" as it laments, in exactly two minutes fifty-nine seconds, of course, the old DJ's talking, farting and generally cutting the latest hits off in their prime before they've cast their full spell? Or the quirky jaunt of "Felix & The Golden Sun", or even the careening wallop of "Timebomb"?? And surely I've already waxed lyrical about album highlight, "Clown In Your Nightmare" as it adds a spooky poptastic shimmer??? No????? Oh man, and I've nearly filled the whole website already (get on with it man! ---- I am!).

Cats In Space? You better bloody believe it! Whatever that means….?

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Jupiter Calling
2. Mad Hatter's Tea Party 
3. Clown In Your Nightmare
4. Scars
5. September Rain
6. Broken Wing
7. Two Fifty Nine
8. Felix & The Golden Sun
9. Timebomb
10. Scarecrow

Added: November 26th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Cats In Space online
Hits: 4196
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Cats In Space: Scarecrow
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-11-26 08:00:47
My Score:

UK act Cats in Space have seemingly come out of nowhere to deliver one of 2017s most charming 'classic rock' styled releases, Scarecrow. The fact that these guys have soaked in all their influences and created an album so ripe with magnetic hooks and stellar instrumentation, sounding retro yet modern at the same time, is an achievement in itself. Love classic Styx, Queen, 10cc, Kansas, ELP, City Boy, and Supertramp, Aviary, and Uriah Heep? Well, it's clear that Cats in Space do too. The tremendous harmonies, chunky guitar riffs, and engaging keyboards of "Jupiter Calling" are simply irresistible, while the upbeat "The Mad Hatter's Tea Party" and "Broken Wing" ooze both pop class and hard rock majesty. Fans of Styx will love the multi-part vocal harmonies of "Timebomb" as well as the proggy pomp of the 7+ minute title track, the guitars textural and the synths rich & vibrant. Just wonderful stuff.

Without a doubt Scarecrow is a must hear album for any fan of the bands mentioned above, and sure to be a release that ranks pretty high for many in 2017.

» Reader Comments:

Cats In Space: Scarecrow
Posted by Alan Royes on 2017-10-17 06:40:44
My Score:

Couldn't agree more with the comments made. The debut album was excellent, and I couldn't help wondering whether they'd peaked early. Not a bit of it. 'Scarecrow' is an even better collection of songs.
Any lovers of any of the bands mentioned in the main review will surely love this album. Basically, 10cc, ELO, Queen, Boston etc.....all rolled in to one great listen.
Will be intrigued to hear the direction they veer towards on the next.

Cats In Space: Scarecrow
Posted by David Martin on 2017-10-16 07:45:38
My Score:

Great write-up about a tremendous band. Thankyou SOT- I ordered both albums in vinyl from amazon after this accurate review and can now see why so popular as well as the majority 10/10 reviews all over interweb!

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