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Articles Home » 2015 Articles » Cats In Space - 2015 Too Many Gods
 
Cats In Space - 2015 Too Many Gods



ARTIST: Cats In Space
ALBUM: Too Many Gods
LABEL: Harmony Factory
SERIAL: HF06 (CD), HFV06 (Vinyl)
YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Greg Hart - guitars, vocals, synthesizer * Paul Manzi - lead vocals * Steevi Bacon - drums, percussion * Dean Howard - guitar * Jeff Brown - bass, vocals * Andy Stewart - piano, synthesizer, vocoder, wurlitzer

Guests: Mick Wilson - guest lead and backing vocals, keyboards * Andy Scott - guitar, vocals * Janey Bombshell - backing vocals * Greg Camburn - saxophone * Mike Moran - orchestra arranger, performer

TRACK LISTING: 01 Arrival * 02 Too Many Gods * 03 Stop * 04 Last Man Standing * 05 Mr Heartache * 06 Unfinished Symphony * 07 Schoolyard Fantasy (CD only) * 08 The Greatest Story Never Told * 09 Only In Vegas * 10 Man In The Moon * 11 Five-Minute Celebrity * 12 Velvet Horizon

WEBLINKS: www.catsinspaceband.com : www.facebook.com/catsinspaceband


Background
So the most eagerly awaited 'Power Pop Rock' (their words not mine) album of 2015 has finally landed. Surrounded with a great deal of publicity and boasting a line up which reads as a veritable who's who of British Rock/AOR. The band have laid their influences bare, with the accompanying press blurb citing bands such as Queen, ELO, 10cc and Cheap Trick as sonic touchstones. The debut single 'Mr Heartache' has suitably tingled the taste buds of fans of the more melodic persuasion and has inevitably only heightened expectations. When an album such as this is spoken about in such hushed and reverential terms even before its official release it has really got to deliver, otherwise it could backfire spectacularly on the band. Advance reviews of the album have been very positive pretty much across the board, so are we here at Glorydaze going to buck that trend or not? Let's see shall we.


The Songs
Without question if this album were to be released in the 70's these guys would be on their way to stardom in the blink of an eye, but unfortunately we live in very different times and as such this album will only be heard by the melodic rock community at large, unless of course mainstream radio and TV do a spectacular U-turn and embrace the talents of these guys, rather than fawn all over the latest insipid boy band or reality show winner whose shelf life is getting increasingly shorter. This album is a belter from start to finish with barely a dip in quality throughout. It is unabashed in its pride to wear it's tank-top, flares and platforms, Its song writing values also hark back to the halcyon days of the 70's, with clever, although not too clever arrangements and harmonies and still finding space to get in some nice crunchy guitar playing interlaced with some tasteful keyboard flourishes.

So, to the songs. After the very brief overture 'Arrival', the album comes out of the blocks with the super fine title track coming across like the bastard son of Cheap Trick and The Sweet, and wouldn't seem out of place on CT's 'Dream Police' album. 'Stop' changes the tempo with a lively pop vibe but still retaining enough muscle courtesy of some top Brian May-esque guitar work towards the end of the song.'Last Man Standing' is also a catchy sing along type of track, something which Robby Valentine is so adept at doing, and as a consequence has a certain Queen like feel to it. Most people reading this should already be familiar with the single 'Mr Heartache' complete with its smooth AOR chorus and delicious harmonies and keyboard work. 'Unfinished Symphony' takes the pace down very slightly, telling tales of musical hardship and for me anyway evoking memories of those Power Pop giants The Raspberries, it could almost be the sister track to their very own 'Overnight Sensation' epic. 'Schoolyard Fantasy' tells the tale of schoolboy crushes, we've all been there right? Featuring a glorious chorus whilst the verses deal with teenage angst but in a way that never comes across as sleazy or underhand but deals with its subject matter with sufficient guile and subtlety. One minor gripe, this track is not included on the vinyl version of the album.

'The Greatest Story Never Told' is, by the bands own admission the centrepiece of the whole shebang and throughout its near 7 minute lifespan goes through various movements, at times being reminiscent of John Miles 'Music' epic and at others something that mid 70's 10cc would conjure up.. marvellous. It appears that the theme of this song is to be continued on future releases - according to the sleeve notes, which certainly bodes well. 'Only In Vegas' is for me slightly throwaway, but is by no means a turkey with a smooth US mid 70's radio feel to it. 'Man In The Moon' gets us back on track with some exquisite harmony work and nicely understated keyboard work. 'Five Minute Celebrity' is a barbed attack on the vagaries of the talent show phenomenon and its participants. It's easy to spot the bands displeasure at such programmes but they deal with it by delivering some cracking Who like power chords coupled with an ambitious arrangement. The album closer 'Velvet Horizon' is a short piano led ballad with an evocative vocal performance and rounds it all off in fine fashion.


In Summary
Throughout I have mentioned various other bands names, which by their own admission Cats In Space look up to and admire. Yes, there are these influences in their work on this album and I believe they are quite proud to wear said influences firmly on their collective sleeves. But, having said that Cats In Space have put they own individual mark on these songs and delivered a melodic rock album very much for today, full of diversity, high performance and production values befitting of the decade the band love so much. Is this my album of the year? I stated earlier in the year that the latest JoNo album would take some beating in those stakes, well I think it's between this and the aforementioned JoNo platter. 'Too Many Gods' is an essential purchase and any self respecting melodic rock fan would do well to get their hands (I hesitate to say paws) on this pretty sharpish..


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on November 02 2015 00:28:11
Great review Malcolm!
#2 | gdazegod on November 02 2015 00:29:04
Cats In Space - 2015 Mr Heartache
[movie=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdy7zmLHAJY[/movie]
#3 | Jez on November 02 2015 15:15:56
Great review Malcolm. A fantastic album which will be hard to beat this year (and any other year). Some many great songs and it's also great fun spotting the influences everywhere. Superb stuff
#4 | diegopomp on November 04 2015 16:26:08
Great review! Thumbs Up
#5 | englandashes on November 06 2015 22:06:57
Hmmm, powerplay reviewed this and gave it 6 out of 10, and it quotes 'perhaps a bit too close to being cute and cuddly for cutting edge rock fans to appreciate'', well i have just played it again and in total agreement with Malcolm, so that makes me as blunt as the Aston Villa forward line!..sorry Malcolm couldn't resist it....in all fairness i should had used Wolves!
#6 | Explorer on November 07 2015 09:30:09
Cheers Chris, same here I`m quite happy to be less than 'Cutting edge' then if that's the criterion they go by.Top, top album, it gets better with each spin. As Jez pointed out earlier spotting the influences is great fun!. Less said about the Villa forward line the better!LOL.
#7 | swazi on December 16 2015 14:44:13
Absolutely nothing to add from my side. Essential purchase!
Btw., great review, Malcolm! clap
#8 | jeffrey343 on January 10 2016 02:19:41
This has turned into one of those surprises for me. Not really the style I regularly gravitate to, but very enjoyable. I can't make some of the connections to other bands that are made here (I'm just not familiar with 10cc or even a lot of the material of Queen, ELO, and Cheap Trick). But I could make some references to very recent releases such as from State Of Salazar and State Cows.
 
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