Occasionally, you come across a group that is reminiscent of everything you truly love. Clever lyrics, jangly guitars, smooth vocals; all joining in unison in order to craft that perfect pop song. Cats on Fire have constructed 10 such songs with their second album Our Temperance Movement. Consider us lucky that Matinee Recordings was able to put out this album by the Finnish quartet.
Immediately upon pressing play, you will more than likely realize that the band shares a certain affinity for bands such as Felt or the Smiths, sharing those classic vocal similarities, but not in such a fashion where you feel as if they’re merely playing the role of imitators. Singer Mattias Bjorkas can hold the sway in his voice just like Lawrence or Morrissey. But, you’ll find that in listening to his voice, it stands alone an a different entirely.
Now, the band probably has a lot of influential waters that they could soak up with a sponge, all of which are visible in their songs, but a different comparison comes to mind when listening to the album. Our Temperance Movement recalls early Belle and Sebastian records, or just your favorite pop album, where every single song is so good that it would be hard to decipher which song on the album was meant as the single. You won’t be able to find a throwaway track here, which is an oddity in this year’s music output.
“Lay Down Your Arms” has that familiar jangly guitar you’ll recall from all those classic recordings, creating a mood of stomping about your local pub dancefloor. As the vocals sway back across the song, you can’t help but feel moved by the meldious tune. “Letters from a Voyage to Sweden” follows shortly after, with tales of watching a cruiseliner filled with adulterers and sodomites. Even with such a taboo topic, the song rolls along; it’s the perfect song for quiet headphone moments lying in your bed in thought.
With songs like “Tears in Your Cup,” Garden Light” and “Fabric” neatly tucked into the latter half of the album, you’ll find that your listening experience is never lacking in above average tunes. Especially when you encounter the bookend to the album “Farbic” with its backing female vocals and bouncy strum.
As the album wraps up completely you’ll be rushing to record your favorite tracks for that next great mixtape you are preparing for your friends. You only want the best tracks, and every song on this album will suffice to prove to your friends just how great your tastes are; so go on and introduce them to Cats on Fire.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/02-lay-down-your-arms.mp3]
Download: Cats on Fire – Lay Down Your Arms [MP3]