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Cats on Fire - All Blackshirts to Me

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 3 / 5 / 2012

Cats on Fire - All Blackshirts to Me
Label: Matinee Recordings
Format: CD


Instnly appealing and catchy third album from Finland-based indie pop act, Cats on Fire

Over fifteen years, Matinee have carved their own niche, truffling around for infectious pop melodies in unlikely places. Over the years, Jimmy Tassos has marshalled an army of bedroom-based popsters and long forgotten cult heroes; compiling a catalogue of imaginative and literate songs, without ever losing sight of the ‘pop’ aesthetic which Matinee committed itself to on its first seven inch vinyl. Instead of documenting a particular music scene, Matinee has instead collected likeminded minds from across the continents. Australians the Lucksmiths rub shoulders with France’s Ego, the UK’s the Windmills and Harper Lee, Denmark’s Champagne Riot, Sweden’s Azure Blue and even a few bands from Matinee’s native USA. Fitting in perfectly are Finland’s Cats on Fire. On their third full length album, ‘All Blackshirts To Me’, they neatly sum up all the things their label is good at. An instantly likable album, the songs that stand out on first listen are those that mosr obviously tip their caps to the indiepop scene; ‘A Different Light’ has loud guitars in all the right places and could have jumped straight off Morrissey’s first solo album, while ‘After the Fact’ has a Bruce Foxton bassline and the kind of off-kilter melody that Elvis Costello earned his reputation with. But, subsequent listens reveal that main songwriter Mattias Björkas is at his best when he’s at his most unassuming. Over a fairly simple piano line, ‘1914 and Beyond’ draws in the strands between the outbreak of World War One and the 2008 financial crisis. The European Union was “doomed from the start,” he says, having urged, “Greece, don’t pay your debts”. It says more in three-minutes than the many hundreds of well-meaningly earnest think-tank papers published since the run on Northern Rock. Cats on Fire would be capable of knocking out an album of ten catchy guitar pop numbers, but instead they offer up folk ballads and sea shanties; songs about losing your job, smashing the system and travelling across continents. Cats on Fire have made an imaginative, alluring album. The kind you can imagine wanting to listen to for years and years to come.

Track Listing:-
1 Our Old Centre Back
2 My Sense Of Pride
3 A Different Light
4 There Goes The Alarm
5 After The Fact
6 The Sea Within You
7 1914 And Beyond
8 Well Well What Do You Know
9 Smash It To Pieces
10 It's Clear Your Former Lover
11 A Few Empty Waves
12 Finnish Lace

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digital downloads


Dealing in Antiques (2010)
Splendid compilation from the always reliable Matinee Records mainly of difficult-to-find early releases from Finnish indie pop band, Cats on Fire
Our Temperance Movement (2009)

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