Queen Elizabeth Hall
I cannot remember the last time I went to South Bank to watch, for want of a better term, an “indie” band play with a full orchestra and choir, but then there is a scale and ambition to Cat’s Eyes that is completely out of keeping with these austere times.
This is in no way a criticism; in fact I find it admirable to utterly go against the flow. The trick with big orchestral stuff is to actually not use it. If you’ve written two songs as good as ‘I Knew It was Over’ and ‘I’m Not Stupid’ then going full-out on one and stripping the other right back makes for something incredibly effective. The dynamic between the two songs tonight morphs into the dynamic between the creative duo at the heart of the band, and whether deliberate or not it almost feels like Horrors frontman Faris Badwan and opera soprano Rachel Zeffira are singing about their own break-up to the audience.
The band end with a cover of ‘Lucifer Sam’ by Syd Barrett. And sure, it’s fun to see them play a great song, but with its rough vocal and surf-esque guitar line it’s almost an unwelcome reminder of Faris’ other project. The reason it’s a shame is because Cat’s Eyes genuinely have a distinct sound in their own right. This may be a one off side-project but if you can fill an auditorium, half with hipsters and half with Guardian readers, and still afford to pay the cello players then surely there’s mileage in this. Another album please, just leave the psyche-garage with the other lot.
By Olly Parker
Originally published in issue 31 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2011