Bart & Friends

10 Songs About Cars and Girls

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With Bart being the self-same Bart from the wonderful Australian indie pop band the Cat's Miaow -- and all his bandmates appearing as some of the Friends on this recording -- it'd be all too easy to see 10 Songs About Cars and Girls as simply the more well-known band under a different name. The truth is that, like Hydroplane, Bart & Friends is very much a separate thing entirely, assembled by Bart over two years time and featuring a slew of various singers throughout on songs that explore their own various styles. There's semi-synth pop dreaminess crossed with breakbeats on "E Type Jag," flamenco lounge on "El Camino," a slight bit of Morricone twang on "Beach Buggy." Bart himself doesn't even appear on all the tracks, but he's there most of the time, his lovely and, by now, recognizable gentle electric guitar glaze taking a number of bows throughout. Even seeming fragments like "CBGBS" -- featuring just Bart himself on guitar and vocals -- are rich and lovely to hear. It's very much an enjoyable treat, with the Cat's Miaow tendency to try out a variety of cover versions in full effect -- Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Marine Girls, and, thanks to some lyric borrowing on "Don't Worry, This Isn't About You," Chris Bell all get the nod here. If that wasn't reason enough to listen, though, there's an enjoyable secret on the album that isn't clear until the liner notes are scanned -- not only are there 12 core songs rather than ten, but there's an astounding total of 21 bonus tracks from the Cat's Miaow itself. Taken from the pool of recordings that produced earlier collections like Songs for Girls to Sing -- compilation tracks, live cuts, demos, and much more -- it's a total gift for the Cat's Miaow obsessive. Artists getting the cover nod here: the Magnetic Fields, the Beatles, Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Sugargliders.