Summer Cats

Songs for Tuesdays

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The Summer Cats aren't the kind of cats who like to curl up and purr the day away, they're more apt to chase things, run around wildly, and basically tear stuff up. The Australian quintet states their aim as clearly as possible on the first track of their first album Songs for Tuesdays. "Let's Go" bursts out of the gate with a supercharged Flying Nun-inspired attack (the Clean especially, but also some early Chills too) built around fuzzy guitars, peppy organ, and shouted vocals. The rest of the album follows in kind with barely a break for breath. Thirteen songs in 32 minutes doesn't leave a lot of space for meandering or epic ballads or wasting time with guitar solos; it does leave plenty of space for memorable hooks and for songs that sound like they were created just to be played loudly in the summertime. Any summer mixtape would be improved by the addition of the noisy rocker "Hey You," the droning Stereolab-esque "Lonely Planet," or the wildly oscillating "St. Tropez." You could really take any song and plug it into that sentence; the record is that strong and unified. The only complaint you might have with a record as tightly constructed as this could be that the songs all run together. The group heads this off in a couple of ways. While bandleader Scott Stevens takes most of the vocals, he turns a few over to other members of the group, most notably Irene, who provides the innocent female vocals that pair up with Stevens' slightly manic tones perfectly. Secondly, they vary the sound of each song just a little bit. Some songs are heavy; some are lighter than air. Some have distorted guitars; some have clean and jangly guitars. It's an admirable attention to detail that does a world of good. The Summer Cats spent a few years honing their sound on singles and EPs, and it really pays off on their debut. It's the sound of a great rock band playing and writing at the peak of their game, and Songs for Tuesdays is an album anyone with a fondness for spiky, catchy, and super fun indie pop should own.

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