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Catalyst, Chris: Kaleidoscopes

Would it be unfair to call Chris Catalyst a ‘sideman’? After all, this lad has been in Sisters Of Mercy, The Scaramanga Six and Anti-Product, helped out Terrorvision, Ugly Kid Joe and Ginger Wildheart, while his own band Eureka Machines almost feel more like a bit of fun fitted around other activities and the rest of the band’s day jobs. However, there’s a reason a guitarist and singer ends up being in such high demand and in short it can be distilled down to one word - talent.

It says much for Catalyst that even with all of those bands, projects and dare I say jobs, not only is he the epitome of professionalism, but that one of the true highlights in a jam packed career is his debut solo album, Life Is Often Brilliant. With the follow-up, Kaleidoscopes, not only has the man proven that his outstanding solo work wasn’t just a one off, but he’s had the ability to take those rather splendid foundations and grow them into something as utterly convincing as what we have here. True to its name this album is a wide, varied and yet thoroughly focused romp across some familiar power-pop territory but this time with many more elements woven through its fabric in such a way that its only once this album is over that you realise that you’ve been rocked, rolled, metalled, popped and punked with positive, honest messages that come from the heart. Chris Catalyst has always been a positive chappy - just check out that previous album title to see that he’s a half full kind of guy - but here that upbeat outlook is tempered by a check of reality. Sometimes it is okay not to be okay, and Chris tells us in no uncertain terms through “I’m Not Okay”, a considered, melodic piece that still resides deep in the mind. “Divide And Rule” says much about the current state of UK and world politics and the bizarre choices the masses make, whereas “Ordinary” basically offers an incisive view on living life with a sense of self honesty and humility while looking for the same respect in return.

However, don’t think this is a maudlin album, with its opening blast “Make Good Art” - a brutish riff fuelled proclamation narrated by Neil Gaiman, no less - encouraging everyone to ignore all of the barriers and rules placed in front of them, believe, be true and simply, as the song says, make good art. And that’s exactly what Kaleidoscopes is, a varied yet cohesive smash of utterly memorable art all wrapped up in sing along songs with grit, integrity, honesty and, most importantly, the innate ability to make you want to hear them again and again.

Sideman? Don’t you believe it, Chris Catalyst is a solo artist, a motivator and on this strength, a bloody well force of nature. Soak up his kaleidoscopic vision and make life brilliant all over again!

Track Listing
1. Make Good Art
2. King Of Everything
3. Divide And Rule
4. Ordinary
5. The Ride
6. Bouncer’s Dream
7. Happy
8. A Mother’s Adventure
9. Never Going To Change
10. I’m Not Okay

11. Untangling The Blue
12. Falling Down

Added: April 22nd 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Chris Catalyst online
Hits: 694
Language: english

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