Cat's Eyes

Cat's Eyes

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AllMusic Review by

Despite being written off as trendy garage punks at first, the Horrors have been behind some surprisingly eclectic music. Most obvious was their reinvention into psychedelic shoegazers on their second album, Primary Colours, but the analog synth-heavy side project Spider & the Flies and this collaboration between singer Faris Badwan and soprano Rachel Zeffira also show that there’s more to the band than rehashing the ‘60s in all-black outfits. While Cat’s Eyes love that decade too, they explore different musical territory, mining the drama and romance of Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood's duets as well as the eccentric brilliance of Joe Meek's productions for a sound that’s equal parts campy and vulnerable, mischievous and romantic. However, the actual sound of Cat’s Eyes isn’t as retro as might be expected. The combination of Zeffira’s pristine vocals and the hovering, swooping soundscapes surrounding her suggest Broadcast on the shyly sweet love song “The Best Person I Know” and Felt Mountain-era Goldfrapp on “Bandit,” one of the few times when her operatic training comes to the fore. Though Primary Colours was far less theatrical than the Horrors' debut, Strange House, was, Badwan can’t help but have some influence of Z-grade horror and spy movie themes in his music. At times this adds a playful wink, as on the slinky go-go workouts “Cat’s Eyes” and “Face in the Crowd,” but Badwan's atonal solo turn “Sooner or Later” is the album’s sore thumb. However, he redeems himself on the lovely duet “The Lull,” which just emphasizes that Cat’s Eyes' best moments are often the most delicate. “Over You” and “Not a Friend” use the duo’s fascination with spooky girl group pop vividly, and “I Knew It Was Over” is so hymnal that it doesn’t seem all that gimmicky that it was first performed at the Vatican. Cat’s Eyes is an intriguing album of heartbroken, shadowy pop that transcends its influences when it aims directly for the heart.

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