The Cat Attic's 'A House With Stairs' (Climbs Into The Mind Of Each Listener)
It is my sincerest pleasure to introduce, The Cat Attic, to all of my readers. The Cat Attic is a Boston-based Folk-Rock band that has been getting quite the amount of attention within the scene. I was asked to review their recent album entitled, 'A House With Stairs' which will be available this coming Friday. I encourage you all to download "Monsters" off this album here: https://hypeddit.com/track/1rw5qm Also, Check out The Cat Attic on all socials and at their website below. Without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on 'A House With Stairs.'
"Cut Her Teeth" opens up 'A House With Stairs' and it exemplifies what The Cat Attic is bringing musically to this album. I am immediately impressed, not only with the dynamic sound of The Cat Attic but the clearness of the album's mix itself. The breakdown of this song reminds me of Railroad Earth, which is a great thing. I also get a Greensky Bluegrass or Yonder Mountain String Band vibe but The Cat Attic has an immediate sound that is all their own.
"Monsters" driving backbeat stood out to me from the opening seconds of this song. Drummer, David is the backbone of this song and many others. He is always recorded crisp and clean. "Monsters" is another song from 'A House With Stairs' that is lyrically evocative and confronts the monsters that live within us all.
"Civics And Cats" shows extreme vocal skills and harmonies from Richard and Holli who seem to have a palpable music connection that is relayed through their songs and vocal harmonies. The entire band works well together in "Civics And Cats", and within the entire album; working almost as a symbiotic creature to form this musical mixture.
"Weird Song, Richard" begins with a long reverbed whistle. It’s my opinion that there should be more whistling in songs altogether. "Weird Song, Richard" is my favorite song off of this album. I enjoy the imagery and lyrical content that juxtaposes with a great musical breakdown. When the song gets into the "jam" it completely changes the dynamics of what The Cat Attic can do. Turning more jam and progressive as the song develops, this is where the elements combine to get my blood pumping. I would have loved to have heard more of this throughout the album but I can imagine this improvised at a live performance.
"King Of All" really exemplifies the musicianship from the entire band. Polished and familiar, "King Of All" is one of the most well-done tracks on this album. "Preacher" is classically composed with a string band bluegrass feel in mind. Again we see evocative imagery "blood on your hands." This song meshes well with the other tracks on this album and it is placed within the others in perfect order.
"Holding All's" lyrics shine through from the onset of the song. Lyrically driven "Holding All" is a profound song with lyrics that relate to each listener. The mandolin work by Richard is prominent within this song and shows his level of musicianship.
"Broken Roses" beginning has a very progressive rock feel relying heavily on Jenna the outstanding fiddle player but as the breakdown transitions the band transforms into a rousing bluegrass-folk feel. The dichotomy between the beginning of the track and the rest is very different and I love the transitions in and out of this song.
"Saint Simons's" begins "Freedom tastes like NoDoz and caffeine" poignant lyrics that begin this song and draw the listener in with storytelling. The Cat Attic seems to hit their stride telling a great story and matching music to word, driving the album forward. Both "House Of Debris" and "Firefly" are examples of how The Cat Attic uses storytelling to their advantage. The bass playing from Mike can be heard prominently throughout all of these tracks, holding down the driving force in this band.
After listening through 'A House With Stairs' three or four times now, there seems to be a real connection between the band and their songwriting. This connection is shown throughout the entire album and it’s what draws the listener in: closer to the story, closer to the sound. Some bands are good at songwriting or working together while other bands are tight vocally or improvisationally. The Cat Attic seems to combine all of these elements into one cohesive unit that is beyond what each element brings on its own. While I did enjoy the more progressive bluegrass sounds from songs like, "Broken Bones" or, "Weird Song, Richard" the lyrical developments throughout this album are what is most important. All in all, each song on 'A House With Stairs' works well with the next and takes the listener on a sonic journey ascending the musical stairs into The Cat Attic. The Cat Attic have put an exuberant amount of work into this album and it shows. I hope that each of my readers who listen takes something away from 'A House With Stairs' because there is a lot to uncover in the attic.
Written by RA Fadley
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Editor: Robert (R.A.) Fadley
Freelance Writer, Musicologist, Music Journalist, Music Critic, Music Writer, Author, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Composer, Guitarist.