Sound — 10
The Cat Empire have a sound like no other band I have heard, it is a mixture of soul, funk, reggae, hip hop. There are six actual members of the band who play: trumpet, slide guitar, rhodes, piano, accordian, melodica, double bass, turn tables as well as percussion and vocals. They also invite a brass section to play on some tracks and the beautiful edition of female vocals sometimes to combine with the two males singers who swap singing roles. This is their debut album and though the tracks are studio recorded they really bring out the sound of a live band. It's is such a funky sound that makes you want to dance or at least tap your foot to the beat. Like all good albums this improves with listening.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics combine with the music beautifully as well as telling stories and providing humour. The lyrics in 'The Chariot,' 'Day's Like these,' 'Beanni,' 'One Four Five' and 'The Rhythm' are the highlights. Neither of the two singers would be particularily good solo as they do not have mainstream voices but they suit the music.
Overall Impression — 10
When I first got this album I felt a touch dissapointed after hearing the instantly likeable and catchy track 'Hello' on the radio. But the second time I listened to it that dissapointed dissapeared and on every listening now I'm surprised by little new things I hear and it is now one of my very favourite albums. I'll go through the tracks individually. 01. How To Explain - starts with a trumpet solo which builds into the whole band. Upbeat rhythm, and a catchy trumpet line leads up to Felix proclaiming that 'music is the language of us all.' 02. Days Like These - one of the albums singles highlight of the track is Harry's Night Time Rap. 03. The Lost Song - the most soulful song on the record. Simplistic at the start with just a piano and Harry's vocals, then the trumpet comes in and the accordian takes over from the piano. 04. The Chariot - another single from the album and probably the best song. 05. Hello - instantly pleasing, the first single from the album. Fantastic pan flute ending only on the album version which adds to the radio edit. 06. One Four Five - the fourth single from the album. Silly vocals but still very fun. 07. The Rhythm - slow build up to a funky flamenko influenced song. This truly captures the live experience. 08. The Wine Song - new lyrics to a well known traditional tune. Good song but probably my least favourite. 09. Nothing - this is one of my favourites. It's just so simple and mellow. 10. Beanni - funny voclas with talk and response between the two singers, excellent use of the jumps. 11. The Crowd - piano based song. My personal favourite at the moment. Features some great slide guitar. 12. Manifesto - double bass centred song. Produces a very live sound. 13. All That Talking - a very bizarre song. Almost classical piano based it provides good contrast. The best thing about this album is that it doesnt repeat itself. Because they have two singers who have very different styles it provides a lot of depth to the album. If it were stolen I'd definitely buy it again, I totally recommend it to anyone who likes funk, flamenko or just likes to dance.