Britpop was an odd phenomenon, with many of the brightest and most popular British bands of the time rejecting contemporary sounds like shoegaze, grunge and acid house to instead celebrate British guitar pop of the 1960s. In fairness, it was a truly imperial stage for British bands, the world dominating Beatles and Stones being complimented by the art-pop of the early Who, the lusty RnB of The Animals, the pastoral genius of the Kinks and the psychedelic musings of Syd Barret’s Pink Floyd, and even then this was only the tip of the iceberg.
Although Britpop spawned record deals for a lot of chancers, it did create an environment that allowed The Beta Band and The Brian Jonestown Massacre to flirt with the mainstream, and it’s this type of late 90s indie that Dundee three-piece Catch channel on their self-titled EP. Opening track ‘Cryptic’ lounges out of the blocks with a woozy confidence, the slow wails of Sean Findlay’s guitar lending the tune a low-key hypnotism. Lyrically, Findlay’s details the merits of good friendship (“I don’t know what I’d do/ Without a friend like you”). It’s a dreamy, almost sleepy number but it’s undoubtedly effective opener, recalling the low-key excellence of Scouse legends Shack.
Punchier is ‘Simple Word’. Findlay’s choppy, riff lends the song it’s power pop flavour, with Daniel Kelly’s drumming giving an additional glam-rock stomp. The throaty vocals have a hint of John Lennon about them, suiting the songs straightforward rock n roll. Fittingly, given the title, it’s a simple song that shows it’s sixties influence without sounding like it’s from the decade either, but could easily be an outtake from American cult heroes The dBs or The Raspberries, harmonies and all. ‘Ride A Cloud’ kicks off with a scuzzy, Nirvana-esque riff, although the song’s harder sound doesn’t extend to the escapism of the lyrics: “She said forget school/ Cause Today we’re gonna ride a cloud”, paints it as a spiritual successor to the Small Faces’ Itchycoo Park, albeit one played by an 80s grunge band.
Catch’s EP is a promising and arrestingly professional introduction to a band who tread a well worn genre with a youthful vigour.