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Ten Kinds Of Heaven and Hell,
This review is from: Cat's Eyes (Audio CD)Faris Badwan has had his fingers in lots of different musical
pies. Cat's Eyes is his latest; a collaboration with singer
Rachel Zaffira and it's a magnificently moody piece of work.
Mr Badwan has dipped into the sound palette of Sixties girl bands
and come back with a highly engaging collection of ten tracks
which sucessfully resurrects some of the magic of that era.
Ms Zaffira's whistful voice is absolutely ideal for the job.
Her breathy tone recalls the young Francoise Hardy (whose 1967
album 'Ma Jeunesse Fout Le Camp' came especially to mind).
Mr Baldwin is the beast to Ms Zaffira's beauty. He slips and
slides and snarls like the very best (worst?) kind of lounge
lizard. Listen to his marvelously wayward performance on 'Face
In The Crowd'. He is a creature of the night. No ifs or buts!
There are some very pretty tunes here too. The string arrangements
on the truly lovely 'I'm Not Stupid' and the small but perfectly
formed 'Not A Friend' are beautifully judged and sensitively frame
Ms Zaffira's fragile delivery. The latter's lilting bossa nova beat and
dreamy melody proves to be one of the album's understated highlights.
Only two of the songs weigh-in at over three minutes and the
album slips by in the blink of an eye but despite its diminutive
stature it manages nonetheless to punch way above its weight.
'Sooner Or Later' is the album's real curiosity. A spectacularly sombre
dirge which has Mr Badwan intoning darkly like the very devil himself!
(Listen carefully and you will hear him smashing two thigh bones
together deep down in the mix for added nightmarish texture ... Brrrr!)
However, on the final tiny composition 'I Knew It Was Over' he also
shows a capacity for tenderness. It is a strangely moving performance.
Ms Zaffira creates a chorus of angels and fluffy clouds around him to
bring the album to a gentle and markedly un-demonic conclusion.
'Cat's Eyes' is a worthy work of wildly inventive musical imagination.