Music Reviews
Structure & Fear

Cat On Form Structure & Fear

(Southern) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

It's always going to be difficult for a phenomenal live band to recapture the buzz of their shows on a small circle of plastic: somehow, the energy and passion is forced out in the gruelling recording process. There is no doubt that Cat On Form are one of these phenomenal live bands, as anyone who has seen them will attest, but wisely they haven't attempted to reproduce a typical gig, instead making use of the facilities to broaden their sound and scope.

For all the Fugazi and Sonic Youth references that crop up when describing the band, the album begins on a relatively muted note. Opening track I Broke A Nail begins with drummer Eva's plaintive purring before the guitars and the rest of the band kick in properly. In fact, to describe COF as purely a hardcore band, as some have, is a ridiculous notion, because this track shows more invention in its short life than Sick Of It All have shown in their entire career. Of course, elements are drawn from that genre - the screaming, the often bruising guitars - but overall, COF demonstrate a Dischord-esque approach to punk rock in their angular, dissonant thrashings.

Twin frontmen Jamie and Steve shred their larynx into sorely-abused microphones, with a passion and delivery rarely found in those so young. The jarring guitars and roving bass add to the maelstrom of righteous anger being poured forth here, while the battering drums prop the whole thing up.

So far, so what, you may be thinking. There are other bands doing the same thing, right? Well, yes and no. While the post-hardcore sound may have been perfected on Fugazi's Repeater, COF take the template and move with it, introducing new musical ideas (including a keen sense of melody) to the mix. The same political aspirations are there, but they are mixed with intense emotion (and not in the girly 'emo' sense), and this is the key to COF's sound. They believe - with good justification, apparently - that politics, society and emotion are interlinked to such a degree as to be inseparable, which is why tracks such as Action Happening and Blood Drained feel so disparate yet so coherent.

While COF may not be as musically revolutionary as one might first imagine, they are still streets ahead of their peers in terms of innovation and forthright passion. This band have the potential to be not only huge, but very important for the UK music scene.