Home > Bust > Catatonia – International Velvet

Catatonia – International Velvet

Warner Brothers, 1998catatonia

Oh that refreshing, freeing sight of galloping white horses on a beach on a particularly cloudy day.  It reminds me of a post I must write at some point that tries to break down the decision making process on choosing an album’s cover art.  Discussion with experts, psychological test results of band members, color palette vs. astrological signs, that sort of thing.  Off the cuff without a truly informed perspective, I would say that the members of Catatonia were looking ahead in their career with white horses of hope and passion.  That, or they just picked their art from the multitude of bad art found at donation shops.

The third record from this Welsh crew finds them continuing their pop rock interests, yet not nearly with the same success as with their previous records.  In fact, after a good start in the first couple of tracks, this record really stinks.  The first track of “Mulder and Scully” has a semi-enjoyable sound but man, did they have to date themselves with the song title?  If anyone reading is in a band, please don’t title your songs like “Hate Jon and Kate” or “Who Died On Grey’s Anatomy?”.  Moving on, the only song that truly stands out on this record is the single “I Am the Mob” which has Cerys Matthews’ raspy vocals singing a few clever verses about implied violence and sleeping with the fishes.

Unfortunately, the album then takes a nosedive with a few slow songs that rely too heavily on the allure of Matthews’ vocals, which I imagine doesn’t allure many these days.   Truth is, the album completely unravels after the ‘Mob’ song, as the band sinks into a lot of burdened, non-beat music that neither engages nor finds itself memorable.  In fact, one could say that the later half of this album is completely unbearable to listen to, especially if you were expecting continued excitement.  The band surely must have thought that regardless of how the music is composed, the lyrics will certainly rope in the listeners.  It’s the only way I can explain the morass of eye-gouging awfulness.  At least the ‘Mob’ song was good.

If you must check out Catatonia, you could head on over to their MySpace or Last.fm pages.

Catatonia, while popular at the time in England, did manage to recuperate some face on their next album before exiting from the scene.  To me, this record typifies what might linger in the collection of any older music listener in that it was an album that may have been sought after by casual pop fans at the time but, on a later listen, one wonders what one saw in it.  That’s how I felt about my Sponge and Cracker records, actually.  Regardless, this record just didn’t age well and will likely never find a revival audience.

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