Hold your noses ’cause the boys from Columbia City are back with yet another aromatic love offering. That’s right, Catbox are back with another 15 glorious examples of why their band has been banned from playing the Three Rivers Co-op for being too raucous. It’s kind of difficult to believe that just two guys can be responsible for so much chaos, but then again Keith Roman plays a rather large drum kit (plus a rather small mandolin) and Doug Roush’s bass has more than its fair share of strings and, er, that’s it. There’s no need, and no sonic space, for guitars, horns, cellos, or ukuleles.No sir, kids, this is some of the finest post-rock that this area can provide, with a smidge of art rock thrown in for good measure. The bass is thick and textured while the drums are crystal clear and inventively panned across the stereo spectrum forming a sound unique to this planet. The songs themselves form a perfect skeleton upon which to hang these sounds, that being a melting pot of jazz, rock and experimental, although the nucleus is always a memorable melodic hook.
A perfect example of Catbox is “City of Light,” a song so out there and yet catchy that I find myself humming it days after hearing it once. The song starts with Roush’s slap-and-pop bass laying down a funky a groove in the verse before sliding into a smooth section where he feels compelled to strum chords on the bass. “Skeletonz in the Desert” is 70s light rock-meets-strummed expensive jazz chords- meets-an aggressive instrumental bass riff, all playfully tossed around a few times to keep your head spinning. “Iced Chocolate” seems to be channeling the entire band of Iron Maiden, plus a Viking chorus and cowbell, while “Fading Beauty” mixes a very pleasing finger-picked bass melody with mandolin and soothingly sung vocals before throwing the listener down a mountain full of sharp rocks via a few hardcore instrumental passages.
As if this cake needed any icing, there’s “I Am the Eyes and Ears,” a compelling song based on a character in the movie The Breakfast Club, and a three-song finale whose meaning I’ve yet to unravel. Indeed, each of the 15 songs on We Need 2B Changed sport intelligent yet often humorous lyrics that invite multiple listens to fully decipher. A brief example from “Get In, Hang On”: “Little by little / Day by day / You suck the joy of living / In every way.”
With this most recent release Catbox prove once again that they are the region’s most unique band. Each song is an adventure, so after you pick up your copy at your favorite Wooden Nickel store, be sure to “get in” and “hang on” because it’s going to be an adventurous ride!
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June 27 • The Clyde