22 April 2017

Cattle & Cane - Mirrors

Cattle & Cane; it sounds like a quaint country pub, but what a fantastic name.  The cover is also striking, an image of a girl with multi-coloured hair, looking into the distance at something we will never know.  Its a wistful image for this album, and the second from the Teesside act.  Led by siblings Joe and Helen Hammill, Cattle & Cane are joined by their brothers Fran (guitar & backing vocals) and Vin Hammill (bass), along with close friend Tom Chapman on drums. I would be lying if I said that I’d heard of this band before, but I am always interested in finding new acts for this page, (or my radio show, Attention Please on NE1FM), and being offered the chance to review this act was too good to turn down.  But now its time to see how the music turned out.

01 - Love on Your Hands

'Love on Your Hands' is a synth indie/pop track about how the course of love is never easy, one which can explode at any moment, and disappear just as quick.  Helen Hammill's vocals and style remind me of London Grammar and Sleeplust, musically its very minimal and captivating as well.  This is a well-crafted number, one which builds towards its gentle crescendo, and does not disappoint.

02 - 7 Hours

Adding a bit of rock to the mix, '7 Hours' is all about being kept in the dark about a situation.  Joe Hammill takes over vocals on this one, and it adds a different dimension to the record, showing that they are not just a one-trick pony.  You can see their classic pop-rock influences on this song -it does have a huge debt to Fleetwood Mac on this one.  Its not a rip-off track however, the band take the style/influence and make it their own.    And they own that sound, they truly make it theirs and it is fantastic!

03 - Fool for You

This is a huge song, it has a joyful step to the music which has been missing in the mainstream for an awfully long time, and it brings a massive smile to my face.  How does a song about being a fool for a disinterested party sound so fun? That is a talent that has been absent from my life for too long.  Its big, I mean musically its such a positive experience that it makes me want to dig out albums by ELO and Moonbabies and play them in the sun.  What a tune!

04 - Dealing with the Devil

Taking it back a notch, 'Dealing with the Devil' is a moody number, a dark and reflective song that curses bad luck, and adds a dark atmosphere to their sound. 
Its a good track, but has the bad luck of following one of the most joyous pieces of music I’ve heard in 2017. Maybe its cursed??  However, its still a good song, and will go down well on their live set.

05 - Time to Get It Over With

Everything is stripped back further on 'Time to Get It Over With', with the theme of lost love and the end of a partnership.  Its acoustically driven, with that passion behind the words that makes their tracks so accessible, and is one of the highlights of this album.  I like the way this band can make so many different styles their own, and this one showcases their talents in the best way possible. Its simple, yet so hard to do at the same time.

06 - Make Your Vision

'Make Your Vision' is a song that has a tropical sound to the synths, but its not a throw away holiday anthem.  This is a catchy number that has pop sensibilities from the old school, its enticing and well-crafted.  The lyrics seem to be about how admitting your mistakes can be hard, especially when you know/think you’re being a bit of a fraud. It is not my favourite from the album, but its still a good song - what more could you ask for?

07 - Paper Man

The recurring theme of broken relationships continues with 'Paper Man', an acoustic song which is once again talking about a relationship which is no longer in existence.  It drifts over you like a gentle dream, with a soft strumming of the guitar, the occasional percussion and supportive synths.  It is a nice song, not the loudest, but another good number.

08 - Saviour

The band appear aware of the pace of the album, with ‘Saviour' picking up the pace. The track appears to have a Latino influence added to this Fleetwood Mac inspired number, which talks about the aftermath of a break up, overcoming those emotions and pitfalls, and the determination to weather the storm and face the new dawn.  It is a great song, one that I can play again and again. 
09 - I've Been Silent

The penultimate song 'I've Been Silent' is another gentle number, reflective in nature and well crafted.  It is a song that will appeal to some more than others, sadly I am not one of those people.  Its not a song style that I like, but I can certainly appreciate the effort that went into this ballad.  A nice song, but not for me.

10 - Tonight We Dance (Cleveland Hills)

However, 'Tonight We Dance (Cleveland Hills)' is a much better ballad from Cattle & Cane, one that can make the heart reflective and wistful.  This song about your first love is slower, more intense and beautifully frail.  Its a gentle way to end this album, one that is fitting for this record, and is full of grace and dignity.

Now, this blog might be known mostly for our obsession with the weird side of music, but we have also stated that we love quality pop songs, or ones that are from the mainstream.  This is one of those cases, as Cattle & Cane have released a beautiful, gentle album that mixes Electronica, Indie, Acoustic, and Pop with a huge dose of talent, diversity and atmospheric moments, which stay with you after you have finished listening.  Yes, you can see their influences in places, but is that not the case with all musicians?     All performers are influenced by others, and Cattle & Cane take their inspirations and make them their own, and thats a win in my book.  I can see a few of these tracks being prime contenders for singles, a few which are not as good as the others, but they work well as an album.  A quality indie pop release from this family (and one friend) affair, go and check them out on their upcoming UK tour and purchase the album! 

8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention, as maybe my time, money and heart

Top track - Fool for You

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