I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this awesome Australian band before, and if I haven’t it is well overdue. The Cat Empire, who formed in 1999 and have released six albums over the last decade and performed hundreds of amazing shows, are a hard band to define – a blend of latin music, jazz, ska, reggae, funk and rock. Though a six-piece band, they are regularly joined by other musicians, including extra brass sections, string sections, and more.
Since bursting onto the scene a decade ago, they’ve gone through quite a few changes in sound. With their latest album, Steal The Light, it feels they have finally gone full circle and ended up back where they started, releasing an album that is full of energy, very latin, loud and upbeat, and incredibly good for dancing. As trumpeter Harry says on their website:
“In many ways this record is a return to our original aesthetic, a very simple thing; that the music is for dancing and feeling good; and that the beat of the record belongs to all nations. It should make people smile, make people dance. That’s all we want.”
The album does have a very worldly feel to it, and I must admit the first time I heard the song above I just broke into a great big smile. There is something so upbeat about this album, an element which I felt was missing off their last album, and it’s so good to hear these guys back making the music they make best. Sometimes when bands return to their roots, so to speak, it comes across as forced, but with Steal The Light it seems the most natural thing possible.
There are a couple of softer sounding songs, particularly the album closer All Night Loud, but even this feels like a sort of triumphant way to end the record, still remaining positive even if it’s not as energetic as the rest. Most of the songs are bound to get you moving, with some of the heaviest latin influence to date on a Cat Empire work. I hope this very infectious album performs well because it most certainly deserves to, and if you don’t hear it in full you really are missing out.
I’m going to end with my favourite song from it, “Prophets In The Sky”. Sadly there are only film clips for the first two songs I’ve already included, but you can look at the awesome album artwork on this one, by Graeme Base (the album comes with a big fold out poster of this, too). Enjoy!
What do you think of this music and this band?