Local Love: Catch Fever
Photo Credit Charlotte Boman
I’ll be honest, there are so many things happening right now in Houston, that a person can get swamped. Though I knew of the band’s existence, I had actually been behind in getting in touch with one of the members of Catch Fever, for a chance to review their album. So, when I went over to Warehouse Live to watch them perform at their release party for “Shiny Eyes,” I was a little blown away from what I saw. For a band that’s been around a little over two years, the live performance was just the beginning.
Usually, when someone tells me that I’ll like something, I’m a bit skeptical. I always wonder how they think they know what I do and do not like. So, after I was introduced to Josh from Catch Fever and we exchanged pleasantries, I was handed a disc. “I think you’re gonna’ like it,” he said. Even after watching the band perform complete with a crazy mix of professional lighting and screen designs; I was still the skeptic. In my life, I’ve seen so many bands who have an almost bipolar existence between performance and recording. Since I was coming at this from the reverse direction in which I was used to, I should start by saying that I was impressed with Catch Fever’s live show. Away from the fact that their music sounded great and that they had the appearance of a band who had practiced to perfection, the little things are what impressed me.
For starters, when a band utilizes backing vocals correctly in that they come in when they’re supposed to, I’m always a little impressed. But, Catch fever is a three piece, where they utilize piano as well. So, that means that their bassist, would have to play piano in lieu of playing bass at certain times. I’ll just save you time in saying that it was done with precise accuracy. So, it’s not too hard to play live with accuracy and plenty of practice. Though I don’t see it too often, I know that it can be done by most acts with enough time. However, the precision based performance the band offered up on their “big night” wasn’t the most impressive factor.
There aren’t too many times when you can listen to an album that hits all of it’s ambitions in a way that’s impressive. A great album is so much more than well written songs and catchy hooks. The greatest albums have a dynamic ability to sound amazing, and hit all of the ambitions of the artist. “Shiny Eyes” might be one of the most quality sounding albums I’ve heard since “Siamese Dream” by The Smashing Pumpkins. I mean that as sincerely as I can type it, as every note, every composition, and every aspect of how the album is structured is remarkable. You almost get that goosebumps feeling when you hear a recording done in the guise of how it should sound. If I hadn’t had seen the band perform the album live, I would have written the record off as studio trickery. However, the only trick here, is that this was made by a band who hasn’t been around for a full two years. From the perfect pop structuring of the opener, “Stay Tonight” the album shines in almost every way. The opening song is followed by two slower but still well crafted gems, to be segued into the first single, the pop rock gem “Naysayer.” Of the seven tracks within, it’s almost a page turning manual on how to make the perfect sounding album. The most standout song on “Shiny Eyes” is easily the second to last track, “Fool For A Con.” The way the drums enter the song alone is pure magic. If you count the overly hooky chorus mixed with how the backing vocals are intertwined with the pop based melody and pace of the song; what remains is truly somewhat short of pop mastery. Having Mike Thompson at Ivory Tower production mix the album alongside being mastered by sound guru Emily Lazar, is just the icing on the cake of an already well made release.
I don’t think I’m overselling Catch Fever’s introductory release by saying that if you found out that someone had built robots who perform pop rock; you’d think this album was the result of their work. The mix of Motion City Soundtrack song structuring mixed with the pace of a Dashboard Confessional song; Catch Fever has upped the bar for their genre. There’s not a song on “Shiny Eyes” that you won’t find yourself humming the lyrics to even after the first listen. Luckily for you, it’s worthy of more than just one listen. Hopefully for Houston, this is just the beginning of good things coming from Catch Fever. You can see them perform acoustic versions of these songs at Cactus Records on April 12th, and in their original sense at Warehouse Live on April 17th when they open for TEAM*.