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Cats on Fire - Dealing in Antiques

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 5 / 7 / 2010

Cats on Fire - Dealing in Antiques
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CD


Splendid compilation from the always reliable Matinee Records mainly of difficult-to-find early releases from Finnish indie pop band, Cats on Fire

I must admit that shamefully I'd never heard anything by Cats On Fire until now, despite them being responsible for two long players (2007's 'The Province Complains' and 'Our Temperance Movement' that surfaced last year). With the ever reliable seal of approval that is Matinee Records, I, however, pretty much knew before I heard a single note that they would be my kind of band and I was not disappointed. Hailing from the little known Finnish town of Vaasa, and formed over eight years ago, Cats On Fire took five years to finally release their debut album. Prior to that, they did churn out a few singles/EPs and this CD basically collects those old tracks, some demos and a couple more odds and sods together to save new fans from trawling E-bay and paying inflated prices for the early releases. Normally this kind of collection has "one for the completist only" written all over it, but the quality throughout makes this an essential album for fan and casual listener alike. Comparisons read like a who's who of classic indie bands from the last 25 years, with the strongest reference points being the Smiths and mid-period Morrissey, Felt and Blueboy (circa 'Unisex'). There are also hints towards fellow Scandinavian pop icon Jens Lekman, the completely underrated the Bitter Springs and the mighty Belle and Sebastian, but Cats On Fire haven't just copied their musical trailblazers, they have carefully distilled the best elements of each to form a powerful tonic of indie goodness that makes them an enticing proposition along a similar vein to Sheffield newcomers the Crookes. It is hard to pick out individual tracks, but debut single 'Solid Work' which transcends its title, 'The Smell of an Artist' and 'The Cold Hands of Great Men' deserve particular praise, as does a stunning cover of White Town's 'Your Woman'. Time to track down the first 2 albums methinks.

Track Listing:-
1 Your Woman
2 Poor Students Dream Of Marx
3 Never Land Here
4 Crooked Paper Clip
5 Something Happened
6 On His Right Side
7 Don’t Say It Could Be Worse
8 My Friend In A Comfortable Chair
9 You Will Find Me Where You Left Me
10 Solid Work
11 Higher Grounds
12 They Produced A Girl
13 Honey Your Baby
14 The Smell Of An Artist
15 Your Treasure
16 The Cold Hands Of Great Men
17 Draw In The Reins
18 Happiness Is Chemistry
19 Stars
20 The Hague

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All Blackshirts to Me (2012)
Instnly appealing and catchy third album from Finland-based indie pop act, Cats on Fire
Our Temperance Movement (2009)

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