Saturday, September 19, 2015

CATS IN SPACE: "Too many Gods"

Rating: RRRR

Label: Cargo Records
Review By: Alan Holloway

Described as ‘power pop rock’, the wonderfully named Cats In Space consists of a bunch of musicians with more experience than you can shake a box of cat treats at. Basically, these guys have been around and have banded together to make the sort of music they loved back in the 1970s. Think The Darkness with more talent and less squawking.

The members of Cats In Space seem to be mainly guys who have served their time in many bands over the years, such as founder Greg Hart, who has played with Asia and Ultravox, but is also a member of the ‘Supersonic 70s Show’, a fact that was left oss the official press release! It really doesn’t matter, though, as hart and his cohorts have an obvious affection for 70s rock that comes over in their valiant attempt to bring out an album full of new material that sounds, well, like old material.

The most obvious influence throughout ‘Too Many Gods’ are the Electric Light Orchestra’. Single ‘Mr Heartache’ is, for me, one of the best songs ELO never released, and boasts a guest roster that includes Sweet’s Andy Scott and late era 10cc vocalist Mick Wilson. It’s this song that really encapsulates what Cats In Space are all about – bringing the feel, energy and life force of the 70s back where it belongs… on your turntable.

Opening salvo ‘Too Many Gods’ and ‘Stop’ both radiate ELO throughout, then ‘Last Man Standing’ slows things down a bit with a Slade ‘How Does It Feel’ piano base and a very jaunty chorus. Another stand out track for me is the X-Factor baiting ‘Five Minute Celebrity’, which starts off like The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, all massive riffs and thundering drums from Steevi bacon. The production has been a labour of love, with multi layered vocals all over the place, and some lovely synth work from Andy Stewart. Vocalist Paul Manzi has a fine voice, fitting the musical style like a glove, and when you put it all together you realize you might have just found out what would have happened if Queen had made an album with ELO, whilst 10cc and The Who got drunk in the corner of the studio and shouted suggestions.

Whilst some of the slower tracks don’t encourage me to poke the repeat button as much as some of the livelier ones, there’s no denying that ‘Too Many Gods’ is a solid piece of work. If you have good memories of 70s pop rock, or just want to listen to some catchy well made music. 

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