Cats In Space now fronted by new singer Damien Edwards, are back with their vintage brand of 70’s rock, this time around heading to ‘Atlantis’ aboard a new spaceship for their fourth album.
Written by: Dave T
ARTIST: Cats In Space
LABEL: Harmony Factory / Cargo Records UK
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Damien Edwards – lead vocals * Greg Hart – guitars, vocals * Dean Howard – guitars, vocals * Jeff Brown – bass, vocals * Andy Stewart – piano, keyboards, synthesizers, vocoder * Steevi Bacon – drums, percussion, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Dive! * 02 Spaceship Superstar * 03 Revolution * 04 Sunday Best * 05 Listen To The Radio * 06 I Fell Out Of Love With Rock ‘N’ Roll * 07 Marionettes * 08 Queen Of The Neverland * 09 Magic Lovin’ Feelin’ * 10 Can’t Wait For Tomorrow * 11 Seasons Change * 12 Atlantis
The departure of Paul Manzi right after the release of 2019 album ‘Daytrip To Narnia’ from Cats In Space to front the umpteenth lineup of The Sweet led to Mark Pascall’s brief tenure that yielded the mini album ‘My Kind Of Christmas’ before his own exit in mid-2020. Enter Damien (Dames) Edwards.
Several songs on ‘Atlantis’ had been written during the Narnia sessions and one even dates back to the Scarecrow era. Dames had recorded backing vocals for the new album right before he got the full-time job replacing Pascall.
The last four decades or so seemingly did not exist for the Cats In Space lineup. This album is strongly rooted in the 70’s, yet it has a fresh harder rocking factor to an extent we had not heard on previous albums is noticeable and welcome this time around.
Damien Edwards is a technical singer with a natural voice and a wide vocal range. Perhaps more standard personality-wise than Paul Manzi, undoubtedly his lines fit the Broadway-musical feel that many Cats numbers convey. Multi-layered vocals are present in abundance as well.
Of course we’ve got ELO, Queen and Styx influences, but also a new one I perceived when I first heard the songs: Boston. The cinematic intro ‘Dive!’ introduces bits of everything we are about to listen: vintage 70’s space synths, ringing acoustic and soaring electric guitar lines, bombast and hooks.
Cats In Space rock relentlessly on the first two full tracks after the intro, surprisingly a la Boston for ‘Spaceship Superstar’, while ‘Revolution’ recalls the more theatrical Styx. ‘Sunday Best’ is a singalong ode to new socks on a daily basis among other things (yes, believe me!) in full ELO and Queen pomp style. ‘Listen To The Radio’ is the more AOR song of the album, and I’m talking 70’s AOR.
First single cut off the album ‘I Fell Out Of Love With Rock ‘N’ Roll’ clearly portrays the love of the Cats for the orchestral face of The Beatles with those piano lines and simple yet effective vocal hooks, while the lyrics not only name-check several giants of the golden age of rock, but also make clear the dissatisfaction with the Grunge era.
‘Marionettes’ is a musical kaleidoscope that encompasses many of the most precious and distinctive elements of the band’s music, followed by the rocking ‘Queen Of The Neverland’. ‘Magic Lovin’ Felling’ harks back to the seventies Glam Rock, Power Pop and once again Boston with acoustic guitars, crunchy power chords, massive backing vocals and bits of talk box and vocoder.
‘Can’t Wait For Tomorrow’ is an acoustic-driven glam rock number not exempt of dreamy synth lines that match the song’s vibe, one that is kept for the next song, the more keys-driven and soaring ‘Seasons Change’. The title track was set aside for the end of the album as a treasured secret. It’s a piano-driven, intense power ballad yet with a strong presence of fat guitars and heavenly harmonies that reinforce Dames sky-high vocals during the refrains. Do not miss the profound, clever lyrics here.
It might not bring new members to the Cats In Space ranks, but nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable album this is indeed, one that in many instances rocks harder than everything the band had recorded before. Damien Edwards’s natural, mighty pipes are a way better fit than the more restrained Mark Pascall.
I would play ‘Atlantis’ to listeners who want their vintage 70’s music made today under contemporary sound standards, or to those who did not have the chance to enjoy those golden years for age reasons and are keen on discovering it.
I Fell Out Of Love With Rock ‘N’ Roll