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Catch, The: Excuses For Kings

Right from its evocative title, Excuses For Kings, the debut album from UK duo The Catch, is a truly engaging experience. Pulling influences from the two great ages of prog - the 70s heyday and the 80s revival (although you could argue we are currently in the third great age right now) - the pair have created an intricately nuanced journey that demands you listen to both its intriguing lyrical interplay and the startlingly interesting music its wends its way through.

With hindsight, it’s rather unexpected that the opening track, “Daedalus And The Angel”, conforms less to type than most of this album, the upbeat, almost 80s intelligent synth pop an energetic introduction that makes a smart impression, if not one truly indicative of what else you’ll find. Flashes of latter day It Bites and IQ at their less dark are sparked into being through some ear-catching guitar and keyboard work, with the former aspect being delivered by both Robert Williams and Donovan Baine, while it’s Williams alone who appears to bring the latter. Not content with that he’s also vocalist in The Catch, bassist and programmer, with none of the drums seemingly being of the organic variety. In fairness, this usual stumbling block doesn’t impede the natural flow of this album at all, with some more John Beck (It Bites) keyboard forays on “Circus” bolstered by bold beats and interesting percussive breaks. In fact, it’s only the occasional cymbal smash that doesn’t sound completely ‘real’, which is a pleasant surprise. As the track builds, so the musical conversation becomes deeper, numerous keyboard lines and guitar solos bouncing off each other in a song that still retains a hugely accessible edge.

Darker offerings are also made across Excuses For Kings, “Riches For Rags” a much more pensive ponder where the tone becomes less optimistic. Or at least that’s the case here musically, because lyrically the themes aren’t particularly joyous at any point on Excuses…, “Real Love In The Modern World” exploring how we find our soulmates in the digital age, while the title track explores the thought that as a species we’ve come so far while inexorably moving backwards all the time.

As with a lot of the current UK prog scene - these guys are from the London area - this whole album corrals their expansive, instrumental jousts into catchy, pop laced frameworks where you are just as likely to sing the chorus line to “Find Another Way” as you are to be exhilarated by the searing guitar work it possesses. And it’s this clever balance that really does impress as you get to know an album that reveals deeper and deeper passages as you become more acquainted.

If there’s a down side to what The Catch have achieved with their debut outing it’s that there is, in all honesty, a lot of music in this style out there right now. However, when the results are as intriguing and captivating as those created here, we can only hope they don’t get lost in the crowd, because in terms of quality The Catch definitely do stand out.

Track Listing
1. Daedalus And The Angel
2. Circus
3. Riches To Rags
4. Real Love In The Modern World
5. What In The World
6. Leviathan
7. Find Another Way
8. Excuses For Kings
9. Last One To Leave

Added: September 11th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Catch online
Hits: 1205
Language: english

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