Eric Lunn explores the wonder that is the multi-talented, genre-enfused Cats Park with their downtempo-rock album A Taste of Heaven.
Surprise would be understating how I felt the first time I listened to A Taste of Heaven. From the first chord to the last resonation, I was hooked. Honestly, it didn’t sound anything like other music from Russia I had heard before. Then again, I’m definitely not what one would call an expert on the subject.
The genre of this music is very tough to nail down, mostly because each successive track plays out differently than the last. Space, progressive, and traditional rock values are expertly mixed with drone, and maybe even shoe-gaze to create a whole new monster. While I contend that the two genres closest to it are post-rock and jazz, I can feel myself trying to attach even more labels to it. Funk is the first one that comes to mind, if only for the groove factor.
The part that truly caught me off guard was the beautiful voice of the prodigious jazz vocalist Faijee. The unexpected, though very welcome addition to the ensemble brings a whole new feeling to the overall sound of the music. Equal parts ethereal and earthy, the effects added to her vocals tracks are there only to add certain qualities to the music.
While supremely important to the music, the magical vocal stylings of Faijee are not the only thing going for this band. It is apparent very early on that each of the musicians is quite talented in their own right. The guitar is almost whimsical at times, floating above the rest of the music like a warm blanket. The bass is the next level down, and trades often with the guitar for the lead stringed instrument. Some songs it sounds like the bass is driving the whole song, or at least guiding it to the destination. And behind it all is the drums, weaving expertly between the bass, guitar, and vocals, punctuating the stylistic tone of each song.
In my humble opinion, A Taste of Heaven is indeed just that. Solid production, multi-instrumentation and heavy layering, infectious riffs and ethereal vocals make for an unexpected and triumphant debut. It’s apparent to me that these musicians care about their craft and put a lot of work into this piece of art. On top of their work ethic, they are amazingly talented, with an original take on music and what one can do with it.
Review by Eric Lunn