11 August 2013

CAY - Nature Creates Freaks

Hi Presenting 'Nature Creates Freaks' by CAY.
I'm reviewing this as I found the CD whilst cleaning up, and decided to give it a spin. It's been a while.

CAY stands for 'Cool as You'. They are a band that I flirted with briefly at the back end of the Nineties. I think it was because of Steve Lamaqc or some ponce.  I first heard the single 'Nature Creates Freaks'. Loved it at the time too. CAY were billed as 'The New Hole' and a lot of hype surrounded them. But did they live up to that, with an awesome album? Let's see...

Well, CAY didn't like the Hole comparisons, insisting they had their own identity, as I did when they called me the next Kurt Cobain. But it's hard to deny that this record does sound very Holey.
The Dutch singer/rhythm guitarist is Anet Mook and I have just discovered that she died tragically after being struck by a train in the Netherlands in 2011. Wow.

The band consisted of Mook's Swedish partner Nicky Olofsson on guitar/piano, bassist Tom Harrison (from London) and Northern Irish drummer Mark Bullock, who went on to play with Feeder.
CAY won Best Newcomer at the Kerrang awards in 1999. I fully believed the band would go on to big things. But due to infighting, lots of drugs, and fueds with EastWest (sound familiar, Wildhearts fans?) they only lasted about 2 years.

This album was described by NME as "the album that Celebrity Skin (Hole) should be. Big praise indeed, but as I said earlier, the band didn't like this. CAY caught my imagination, and I have to admit that I was impressed. It's grungey, punky, dirty almost. Mook effortlessly changes from Courtney Love style growling to sounding sweet like Louise Wener (Sleeper).  She's awesome, and I probably had a bit of a crush back in the day.  Comparisons with Hole and other Female (Riot Grrl) bands are slightly unfair.  Despite this album being a caged animal, it is easy to appreciate the work that went in.  The band have described playing songs as almost a scientific process.  Guitarist Nicky Olofsson shows that he's more than profficient, even with jazz-like chords.  This is impressive, for something of a Grunge album.  There are moments of fire, fury and power all over this album, but moments of grace and beauty too, like on 'Reasonable Ease in Chilled Out Conditions'.

Do check this album out.  I reckoned CAY were underrated at the time, but I have a feeling that if this album had dropped just a few years sooner, they may have been huge.

7/10 - This is good and well worth a check.

Buy from Amazon
Listen on Spotify
CAY on Bandcamp (You can stream the album here)

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