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Cats In Space: Atlantis

Oh, no! Disaster… That’s exactly how I felt when one of my favourite singers, Paul Manzi, departed from one of my most beloved bands of the last few years, Cats In Space. Bombastic, theatric and delightfully over the top, his was a presence that I worried would be too big to truly fill for a band who rely on all of those things to get a host of serious and less so messages across. Enter, after a misfire with Mark Pascall, one Damien Edwards, a singer with boots of unknown size, but a voice big enough to fill any room, no matter who has proceeded him!

Atlantis is the upward looking, downward dive that the new man has been given to express himself and there’s no doubt that he climbed to the highest platform from which to perform his tumble. “Dive!” kicks off the journey, submarine klaxons blaring, guitars howling as hatches are batoned down and we head for deep waters. Amazingly for a band with a thoroughly convincing 70s inspired track record, initially it sounds like the riffing of Edward Van Halen that kicks things into gear but as synths bleep, bloop and swoop, more familiar ground is found. With “Spaceship Superstar” being an unbelievably memorable and uplifting kick, Edwards howls as though he’s trying to relive the vocals of Boston’s Brad Delp, so powerful, clear and life reaffirming is his confident bellow. That’s how to introduce yourself and slap down any doubters like me!

The album itself is filled with all of the gloriously magnificent Cats trademarks, with riffs bruising and battling with humungous hooks and magnificent melodies for control. However, this kitty’s got claws and a far more rocking punch than ever before, with the guitars undoubtedly brought forward in the mix. In all honesty, on first encounter I did wonder if that slight deviation from course hadn’t actually blunted the attack and yet, as “Listen To The Radio” dials you in, so the nuances still manage to come through. Here Greg Hart and Dean Howard lock in six-string tight to the keys from Andy Stewart. With huge, irresistible banks of backing vocals and a slightly melancholy heart beating below the bombast, as ever, what you experience at first isn’t always quite what you get, with plenty of shit-grinning surprises around every corner. Following that the even more catchy “I Fell Out Of Love With Rock n Roll”, starts out all theatric-showy as it finds Edwards almost in Manilow(!) territory. However, with the poised guitars primed to power through in the end, the style and class is indisputable.

“Marionette” continues the ever evolving journey, a Styx like pompousness played to perfection, a slowie of a grower quickly exploding into a romping riff fuelled beast that carries you along on its sheer energy and effervescence - although, the building crescendo that closes this track out almost out does the aforementioned Styx at their own game! Highlights tumble forth from everywhere, “Sunday Best” dressed to impress, “Can’t Wait ‘Till Tomorrow” demanding to be heard right here and right now, but it might just be the bristling “Queen Of Neverland”, where Boston careens into Sweet, and the closing “Atlantis” which maybe, just maybe, steal the whole damn show!

Cats In Space are alive, well and heavier than they’ve ever been. That they’ve combined those elements with a stunning vocal performance from their new boy and a sparklingly catchy and memorable set of songs is impressive indeed. Four albums in and they haven’t put a foot wrong!

Track Listing
1. Dive!
2. Spaceship Superstar
3. Revolution
4. Sunday Best
5. Listen To The Radio
6. I Fell Out Of Love With Rock 'n' Roll
7. Marionettes
8. Queen Of The Neverland
9. Magic Lovin' Feelin'
10. Can't Wait For Tomorrow
11. Seasons Change
12. Atlantis

Added: December 5th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Cats In Space online
Hits: 1453
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Cats In Space: Atlantis
Posted by on 2021-01-08 20:17:39
My Score:

Great review of a great CD

Cats In Space: Atlantis
Posted by Andy Kitson on 2020-12-10 15:04:38
My Score:

A nice read and good review. I may be a bit biased, as I paint the album cover artwork for Cats in Space, however, it is the music within that is the most important part of any release. This truly is a wonderful album. I grew up on the great rock sounds of the 70s, the Beatles as a tiny kid in the 60s...on through Glam Rock and Pop and great Rock and Prog, either side of the short period when Punk tried unsuccessfully to derail everything that was good. That decade had everything and the Cats remind us of so much good music within this masterpiece. If this had been released in 1976, the entire planet would know Cats in Space.

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