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Catatonia


Country of origin:

Wales

Type of music generally:

Alternative pop

Status:

Final release, Paper Scissors Stone (2001)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry for Catatonia

Comparisons:

Sleeper, Blur, Elastica

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Catatonia are a band from Wales fronted by Cerys Matthews, a charismatic female singer with a voice which is maybe not technically brilliant, but has plenty of gravel-voiced passion and a lovely welsh lilt. Hearing her roll her R's on the song "Road Rage" is quite wonderful. The music is fairly standard guitar-led pop, but they do it pretty well. They're very proud of their Welsh heritage, and one song on "International Velvet" is in Welsh, but with an English chorus inlcuding the line "Every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord I'm Welsh"! (BridgesM@logica.com)

I too strongly recommend Catatonia. Both albums (Way Beyond Blue, International Velvet) are worth buying, the first for its cute, catchy but intelligent pop tunes, and the second for the more muscular, inventive sound and huge songs. Cerys' voice is interesting, because it can be really rrrrrough and ready (usually the chorus), but at times she has this amazingly sweet childlike voice. Although Catatonia are a *fairly* conventional rock band, they are quite interesting musically. (afinney@ozonline.com.au)

Recommended first album:

Equally Cursed and Blessed

Recordings:


International Velvet

Release info:

1998—Blanco Y Negro Records

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Alec Richards—drums
Cerys Matthews—vocals
Mark Roberts—guitar
Owen Powell—guitar
Paul Jones—bass

Produced by:

Catatonia

Comments:

Definitely worth picking up. Wouldn't say I'm madly in love with the whole album but some of the tracks are very interesting. (BridgesM@logica.com)

This album particularly is quite varied. "I Am The Mob" pounds, "Road Rage" has sweet synthesiser verses and then an enormous chorus, "Jonny Come Lately" is slow and dreamy, "Goldfish and Paracetemol" is a tongue-in-cheek trip-hoppified spoken words piece, the title track sounds like a really loud toy factory, "Why I Can't Stand One Night Stands" has a very slow cabaret quality to it, and the closer "My Selfish Gene" is a gorgeous piano number, which to me is quite similar to the piano songs that Happy does ("In Hiding," "Mother Sea"), and just as surprising in relation to their usual style. (afinney@ozonline.com.au)


Equally Cursed And Blessed

Release info:

2000—Atlantic

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Dafydd Ieuan, Paul Jones, Cerys Matthews, Mark Roberts, Owen Powell, Alec Richards

Guest artists:

Elinor Bennett—harp
Matt Dunkley—strings

Produced by:

Catatonia

Comments:

In my opinion a much stronger offering, and one of my top ten. There are particularly 3 outstanding tracks in the beautifully orchestrated "Dead From The Waist Down," "Bulimic Beats," and "Nothing Hurts." There are only 2 of the 11 songs which I didn't think were really good on first listen and those two are growing on me more and more ("Storm The Palace" and "Karaoke Queen"). For those that enjoyed International Velvet last year this new one is a must!!! (ptv@scm-metals.com)

I was originally underwhelmed by Equally Cursed And Blessed, but now thoroughly impresses me. One of the things I like about this album is how well Catatonia *fail* to achieve their goals. "Dead From The Waist Down" strives to be "We Are The World" but doesn't quite get there, "Storm The Palace" falls just short of achieving true punk nihilism, "Karaoke Queen" is an unconvincing Pulp homage, "Valerian" can't quite capture The Corrs' cheesy Irish-pop and "Shoot The Messenger" is a gloriously misguided Brecht/Weil pastiche. Which means that every song on this record is basically a wonderful Catatonia song with a new and brilliantly wacky emphasis. (afinney@ozonline.com.au)


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Entry last updated 2015-05-09 22:58:57.
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