Summer has come to the UK. You can tell it’s summer as it’s slightly less cold and wet than it has been. Whist the weather may not be be putting us all in a summery mood a good upbeat tune can always lift the spirits. The Cat Empire’s World Music inspired, salsa infused melodies from their first few albums were full of tales about partying, drinking and having a good time and were pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get your toes tapping.
Three years ago the bands last outing, Cinema, echoed the growing maturity of the band with a decrease in youthful exuberance but an increase in musicality and thoughtful lyricism.
With Steal The Light however The Cat Empire have managed to achieve the best of both worlds as the album is not only fun but also a well written and diverse collection of songs.
The bands usual latin, reggae and jazz influences are still present but there is also a definite ska edge to this album with the brass led Still Young and Am I Wrong being a perfect examples.
These tracks sit as part of the core of the album next to Wild Animals that whilst great on the album you know will be fantastic as part of The Cat Empires renowned live shows. In fact most of the first half of the album has a fun upbeat get your feet moving feel.
The latter end of the album has a slightly different feel, it’s still fun and enjoyable but there is a more laid back groove to the music epitomized by the extremely simple and minimalistic closer All Night Loud
Throughout the album, whether it’s the upbeat or slower tunes, the one thing that is constant is the effort of the bands fantastic rhythm section. With it being ten years since the Cat Empire’s debut the energy within the songs is different but in it’s stead the songs are heavily rhythm led. This means the songs may not be as jump up and down frenetic as they once were but the rhythm still gets your feet moving.
Another thing that has changed over the decade that the band has been playing are the lyrics, there is less talk of partying and drinking here instead a message to not let life, the man, modernism get you but but instead enjoy yourself, have fun and see the positives around you.
With all this combined the Cat Empire have produced what is possibly their best, most complete album to date. There is diversity aplenty through the album but with no weak tracks to be seen there is a cohesion to the diversity that makes for one fantastic whole.