Saturday 12 May 2012

Cats On Fire - All Blackshirts To Me

Album review by KevW

It would be nice to think that if Finland's Cats On Fire were from the UK that they, along with fellow Scandinavian Anglophiles such as The Shout Out Louds or The Mary Onettes, would be a more widely recognised name in this country. Realistically, location is unlikely to make much difference in the current musical climate, as even the hordes of British bands in thrall to jangly indie heroes of the 1980s are achieving cult status at best. It's doubly exasperating in this case because, for what it is, 'All Blackshirts To Me' is pretty much perfect.

Of course sounding a bit like The Smiths and being able to pen a tidy set of tunes is unlikely to win any awards, but on this, their third full-length, it really feels as though Cats On Fire have come of age, and like a ripe piece of fruit fresh from the branch, these dozen songs are deliciously enticing and fulfilling. From 'Our Old Centre Back' (a title, and indeed song, that might as well be plucked from an old Wedding Present or Half Man Half Biscuit album) through to the final strands of 'Finnish Lace' there's not a rotten apple to be found.

Single 'My Sense Of Pride' is shined to perfection, avoiding fashionable lo-fi production in favour of something more streamlined, but even that is outshone by the insanely melodic 'A Different Light' and 'A Few More Waves'. Even the more unassuming likes of 'There Goes The Alarm', the beautiful 'The Sea Within You' or the apocalyptic, Eurozone-bemoaning '1914 And Beyond' and are gently irresistible. 'After The Fact' brings us the interesting news that a hybrid of The Jam and The Cure can be a good thing. The only real surprise may be the consistency, but there's a lot to be said for the simple joy of a great bunch of tunes and that's exactly what 'All Blackshirts To Me' is.

Cats On Fire's website

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