x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Cat's Eyes a winning collaboration

Cat's Eyes, the new side project from The Horrors' frontman Faris Badwan, is a 60s-inspired duo.

It was quite the leap that London's The Horrors made between their first and second albums. Whereas their debut LP, Strange House, was a spirited but rather rudimentary example of gothic-tinged garage-rock, 2009's Primary Colours suggested a far greater breadth of influence, one that dipped into shoegaze, krautrock and the 1960s girl group sound for sonic inspiration. It is the last of that list, however, that appears to have found fertile ground in the Horrors frontman Faris Badwan's new side-project, Cat's Eyes. A collaboration with Rachel Zeffira, a Canadian soprano and multi-instrumentalist, Cat's Eyes is a richly orchestrated collection of songs steeped in love, longing, heartbreak and tragedy. Best Person I Know and I'm Not Stupid, fronted by Zeffira, are sung with the winsome naivety of a schoolgirl scrawling hearts on her exercise book. But this record goes to darker places. Bandit resembles the soundtrack of a hallucinogenic spaghetti Western, all portentous horns and squirming snake-charmer melody, while Badwan howls like a cold wind in his vocal turns: see the blackened, eerie Sooner or Later. It is a fine collection of songs, lent extra power by its narrative arc. Because as the record draws to a close, we're surprised to find it's Badwan who is left sobbing into his sleeve on the tender, climactic I Knew it Was Over, where his regretful words rise upwards on an angelic chorus.