Harmony Factory/Cargo Records
Words: Craig Hartranft
First, I want to know how they came up with their name. Was the kitty lover of the band watching too many reruns of the original Muppet Show? Remember Pigs In Space? Second, Cats In Space and their debut album, Too Many Gods should get high marks simply for being totally against current musical conventions. While AOR melodic rock has been around for decades, this particular sound probably hasn't surfaced, as significantly as this, since The Muppet Show went off the air in 1981.
So what do the Cats In Space sound like? I'm glad you asked. Alternatively, I should probably ask how old you are. If you're less than 35 years old, you likely won't get this unless, of course, you listened to your parent's records. I'm thinking 10cc, Electric Light Orchestra (without all the nasty synth symphonics), maybe some early Queen (listen to the snapping finger at the beginning of Last Man Standing), maybe some Chicago, Player, and Foreigner, a touch of Pablo Cruise (now that's getting weird). Back in that day, much of AOR melodic rock was radio-friendly ear candy: smooth, with an abundance of melody, bounce and groove, big vocal harmonious, slick guitar solos and glimmering to flamboyant keyboards. You could you bob your head, tap your toe, sing along, even dance if you dared (talking to the men here) and, if you played this stuff for the chicks, you probably got laid on a regular basis. (Works for me.) Cats In Space square this and, for a modern presentation, perhaps makes that classic sound heavier. Bigger riffs can be found within Too Many Gods and Unfinished Symphony. But these guitars joined with the keyboards make for a magical large sound, you know, the kind that filled arenas nearly everywhere.
But the largest feature, perhaps the sine qua non of the genre, is the vocal harmonies. They are expansive and impressive, as large as any other element within the songs including the guitars and keyboards. Think the perfect storm of Chicago, REO Speedwagon, and Foreigner.
I mentioned a few songs earlier, and as much as I'd like to explore more, I'm not going to. It is Friday afternoon, after all, and I'm ready for a whiskey. Suffice to say, everything song is terrific. What's that old saying, yeah, "All killer, no filler." Yup. But here's my favorites: Unfinished Symphony, Only In Vegas, The Greatest Story Never Told, Stop, and Too Many Gods. Get the album.
Being totally against current musical conventions., Cats In Space remember when AOR melodic rock was radio-friendly ear candy: smooth, with an abundance of melody, bounce and groove, big vocal harmonious, slick guitar solos and glimmering to flamboyant keyboards. It's Seventies deja vu all over again.
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