Cats In Space - Daytrip to Narnia

Cats In Space Daytrip to Narnia cover
Cats In Space
Daytrip to Narnia
Harmony Factory/Cargo Records
Cats In Space are, if nothing else, consistent. Since their debut album “Too Many Gods” dropped back in 2015, they’ve come back every other year with an impressive album, after some touring and 2019 is no different. “Daytrip to Narnia” takes the rich rock DNA of its creators (who’ve been active in Moritz, GTS, Robin Trower, 10cc and more) splices it and mixes it successfully once more to give birth to yet another album that sounds both classic, but also fresh.
The entire album seems to have a bit of a concept going on. Extremely melodic opener “Narnia” sees a disillusioned, musician drifting between reality and the “rock ‘n roll fantasy” world… thus the Narnia parallel. It’s great build and chorus, choke full of harmonies both guitar and vocals are amazing.
Tongue in cheek, as they come and melodic as hell “She Talks Too Much” is quite adventurous, but also tons of fun… I’m guessing it has to do with musicians’ girlfriends being bitching.
“Hologram Man” feels as if someone took a Rush riff and slapped a big 70s sort of Gary Glitter/Elton Jon type chorus in there, that just clicks right in place. It’s amazing, while it pokes some innocent fun, (or does it) at managers touring “holograms” of popular artists even after they’ve left this mortal coil.
“Tragic Alter Ego” begins with an extended sad piano intro, before it goes into 70s cabaret rock gear, (think “good old fashioned lover boy” by Queen), which really exposes how being a performing musician in this day and age isn’t all roses, as it might appear to an onlooker – ie a fan.
From having to please fans and conform to what’s expected of you, to having your soul crushed, by the money machine that the industry has always been.
“Silver and Gold” (features Andy Scott of Sweet on vocals) celebrates the heyday and golden age of glam rock, back in the 70s. A nice, melodic tribute, with sublime vocals.
Talking about sublime “Chasing Diamonds” begins as a soft ballad and switches on the engines midway to turn into a power ballad midway… if you got a lighter, please set whoever’s sitting in front of you on fire, please!
“Unicorn” is a funky pop ditto, with some pretty involved sections and a really clever key change during the chorus that might be a little odd, but is a stroke of genius. Typically, you can expect tons of quirky, spacey keys and tons of harmonies, or it wouldn’t be “Cats”.
The rest of the album is occupied by a seven part “suite”: The Story of Johnny Rocket. The story of a guy in our day and age who wants to become a rock – superstar. A spaceman?! Fanfaring “Space Overture” is what you might have expected it to be – an overture. It brings about “Johnny Rocket” with its big harmonies and feelgood if not occasionally melancholic melodies.
“Thunder in the Night” is the next song, where Johnny meets his future girldfirend “Twilight” at a local disco, so the Cats go all-out disco-rocking; Think anything Moroder produced, with a bite and the biggest hit Kiss ever had, but with a spacey keyboard solo thrown in the middle of it and you’re on track. Lovely. The girlfriend proves to be-a-bride.
The harmonized vocalizing of the intro to “One Small Step” is pretty awesome and mixing bells with some soft ukulele strumming before “Twilight” begins with an epic sweep, just as the hero asks her to marry him, is a pretty amazing stroke of genius. The aforementioned, “Twilight”, uses that impressive keyboard sweep a number of times and feels like a mix of Chicago, Air Supply and Chris De Burgh, especially the later with even a phrase out of one of West End’s biggest musicals. Oh, behave.
It however throws a spanner in the works – as Johnny has to be away to keep his career on track and it tries the relationship. That translates perfectly on the ensuing melancholy of “Yesterday’s News”, which is full of amazing vocals and even more harmonies than you could shake a stick at. This time a mandolin laments along with the protagonist, who’s anxious to see if it’s all gonna go according to plan, thrown in for good measure.
“Destination Unknown” has the duo, of soon to be newlyweds, deciding to run away from it all, to enjoy life, other than allowing their circumstances to consume the happiness that could be. It’s an incredibly uplifting and optimistic ditto that closes the suite and album in the best possible way.
If you like the classic pop/rock greats of the 70s such as 10cc, Queen, ELO, Supertramp and Sweet, Cats In Space is their modern equivalent. If you’ve never heard of them, do yourself a favor and seek em out. As for the established fan, rest assured that our beloved felines have scored a hat trick with this third effort. Hurrah, hurray! Is it a holiday? Probably is!