Cats in Paris Courtcase 2000(Akoustik Anarkhy) Buy it from Insound
It must’ve been around noon. The sun had already risen high, though its beams were having difficulties reaching our little fourth floor balcony. We (me, best friend and best friend’s boyfriend) were sitting outside, half-dressed, enjoying the mildly pleasant mid-August weather. While we were desperately clinging onto a cup of coffee, hoping it would swiftly erase the memory of sleep, and while we puffed away nearly a pack of Gauloises Blondes, we talked about music.
I shared my anecdote about the first time I heard Talking Heads’s Remain in Light, about how I listened to the entire record while sitting on the coffee table, with headphones on, being completely still, as if moving a hand would break the spell. We asked ourselves why music can conjure emotion and devastation so much more easily and skillfully than films or novels. We then slowly changed the conversation to art in general, and people’s indifference towards it and ended up with a ‘there’s not accounting for taste’-type of semi-conclusion.
It is my firm belief that there actually is accounting for taste. Taste, in the sense that it means liking or simply not liking a piece of art, is a product of our society’s indifference towards pretty much any art form. It’s a generalisation. ‘You should listen to this album!’ / ‘Oh, really? What is it?’ / ‘It’s hiphop’ / ‘Oh, I don’t like hiphop.’. Bullshit. Hiphop is not my preferred genre either, but Missy Elliott’s Miss E… So Addictive and Kanye West’s Late Registration are two of my favourite albums of all time. Just give it a chance! And a fair chance, not a ‘let’s start up a track, skip to 2:12 mark, listen for 10 seconds and then delete it’ kind of chance . The trick is investment.
Listening to Cats in Paris’s Courtcase 2000 evokes memories of that conversation. I love this record. I love it, because I listened to it over and over again, maybe twenty, thirty times and every time I heard it, it has gotten better. A song like Flamethrowers is 6 minutes long and starts of with a scattershot beat and razorblade synths and I ended up skipping it a few times (also to get as quickly as possible to The Curse of Jonah Brian). But I invested in the song. I wanted to believe that the band created it for a purpose, put those white-hot walls of noise in there for a reason. And if you open up, free your mind, you start discovering why the song is actually pretty cool.
The trick is investment. Cats in Paris is a small band from Manchester, UK who have limited means (their blog features a sad post about a band member’s synthesizer which has broken) and have put in valuable time and valuable money to get this record out there. They are not the product of a multi-million record company who stuck a size-2 model in a recording booth to sing a Christmas carols record. These are four creative kids who have dedicated (sacrificed sounds too negative) a great deal of their time, lives and money into making these songs. Am I really going to brush off their attempt by just listening to half a song, only once?
No, of course not. And neither should you, because you'll missing out on an introduction to a wonderful debut record: a sensational collection of ADHD-infused psych pop which at times veers into the mindblowing. The album’s first two songs are a great introduction to the sounds contained in the records’s 50 minutes. Opener Lovelovelovelovelove, is an epic, mid-tempo builder that showcases the Cats’ expertise in structure and sound design. First single Foxes is in the second spot and puts a heavier emphasis on catchy melody and vocal harmony.
Concidering the band’s penchant towards loud/soft dynamics and experimenting, the best song on the record is also ironically the most straightforward; The Curse of Jonah Brian is the perfect fusion of a hummable melody verse and a dramatic, louder chorus. The band’s playfulness is still present, but it is implemented at a minimum in favour of crafting a digestible pop song. The final act, in which the snappy vocals make way for a dramatic, epic string section, is shiver-inducing and a goosebump-guarantee.
The album’s highlights are numerous, to the point where almost the entire album is a highlight. Except for the two-part Button-ambients, nearly every song on the record has an act of brilliance. Whether it’s the kitschy violins on near-instrumental Cold Products, or the build-up turned space-balled structure of the aforementioned Flamethrowers.
There’s just so much work being put in this record, that I applaud it. You can tell they had fun making this, that they like making this, and that they just had to make this. All those notes and instruments, all those clever twists and arrangements, they are the product of dedication and professionalism. It’s a confident, fantastic and ultimately very rewarding record that should be met with an open mind. They deserve that. The trick is investment.