Label: Harmony Factory/Cargo
Review By: Alan Holloway
It's time for album number four from possibly the most creative and uplifting band the UK has to offer. After the semi prog approach of 'Day Trip To Narnia', fans have been anticipating an album that the band admitted was going to be their chance to rock things up again, sticking the amps on eleven and once again bringing the Seventies kicking and screaming into 2020.
If you're not familiar with Cats In Space, they are a bunch of gents who have all been in the business for many years, who teamed up to make the music they wanted to make, which happily was also the music many people wanted to hear. Their hearts are very definitely in the 1970s, with hints of Queen, E.L.O, The Sweet and a host of others stuffed into every album. Whilst not averse to slower numbers, they're at their best when rocking out and have a real knack for creative, catchy melody and massive harmonies.
'Atlantis' starts with 'Dive', an intro that actually works quite well, a couple of minutes of sweet music that has a good crunch to it. Opener proper 'Spaceship Superstar' is a full on melodic rock classic in the vein of 'Too Many Gods', with a similar vibe and power, along with a fantastic chorus and even a hint of The Who in the instrumental. Now would be a good time to mention new singer Damian Edwards, known for his impressive stage credentials, and it has to be said he suits the band perfectly, with a great range and unsurprisingly rich emotion when required. The rocking start is continued with 'Revolution', a very upbeat track that has a few things to say about how the world is being run, then things get a bit quirkier with 'Sunday Best', a bouncy sub three minute piece hat delivers a good melodic heft and a nice message, namely enjoy yourself while you can. 'Listen To The Radio' is a good old song about how fab music is and how it can save us all from, I don't know, giant lizards and stuff like that. WHAT a chorus, though.
The big track is saved for the middle, as 'I Fell Out Of Love With Rock 'n' Roll' is sure to be revered as one of the band's best tracks, starting slowly with just a piano and Damien, building to a fantastic, emotional climax as we learn why rock n roll just isn't what it used to be. If we ever get to see live bands again, the 'yeah yeah yeah' part will no doubt be enthusiatically sung by audiences, too. 'Marionettes' is another song that starts slow(ish) and builds into a compelling, fast track half way through, and 'Queen Of The Never Never Land' allows the band to fart around in fantasy land as can be their wont, but it's a far from whimsical track, with a banging guitar riff belting out from start to finish and the by now standard chorus that instantly sticks in your head. One of my favourites is 'Magic Lovin' Feelin', which is a very Seventies style pop song which reminds me of Peter Frampton (partly because it uses a talkbox) and is so bloody catchy I've found myself waking up in the morning with the chorus still ringing in my head.
The last three tracks on the album slow things dow a little, with 'Can't Wait For Tomorrow' delivering a nice acoustic sound that is very listenable too and as usual very catchy. 'Season's Change' puts some bounce back in their step after the chill out session, and although it's lively from the start it does a great job of building to a frantic, melody fuelled climax that sees Damian wailing for all he's worth. Finally, the five minute title track arrives with a muted piano start that fools you into thinking it's going to be a nice, sedate end to the album, remeniscing on the good old days, like your grandad if he had a better singing voice. About half way through, as in 'I Fell Out Of Love...' it all kicks off in grandiose style and turns into a mini epic that is a fitting way to finish off a fantastic album.
'Atlantis' is the best album by Cats In Space, there's no doubt in my mind. Some fans were a bit underwhelmed by the quieter second half of '...Narnia', but this one has no such problems, as it has a plethora of big ass rock tracks complemented by some more quirky stuff that fights its' own corner fiercely. Album of the year? Absolutely, and when it drops later this month everyone who has ever professed a liking for rock music should go out and get a Cat.