Swinging open on the dot of seven, the doors of St Phil’s see a steady flow of people filter in, keen to hear the strange fruits of this odd couples labour. It soon becomes clear that we’ve ninety minutes to kill because the word is Cat’s Eyes will be starting their set at half past eight. There’s no support to break the monotony of waiting which begs the question: there’s no one available in Manchester who could have entertained a small crowd for half an hour? Sadly not. So eventually making a discreet entrance, the six handed Cat’s Eyes ease into the evening and it’s apparent that the foundations of their music rest in such luminaries as Spiritualized and my My Bloody Valentine, and, on some numbers, the gentler side of the Velvet Underground. However influences aside Cat’s Eyes skillfully manage to walk the fine line that separates mellifluence and malevolence, and at times it’s pretty damn intoxicating.
Tonight the band has elected to compliment their show with a Psychedelic light show that casts everyone in shadow. The tall and slender figure of Faris Badwan stands stage left with his teardrop guitar and takes the majority of the singing duties, while Rachel Zeffira sits at her keyboard mainly supplies haunting backing vocals. There’s some bruising numbers especially a revved up version of Pink Floyds ‘Lucifer Sam’ but it’s when Zeffira takes the lead that Cat’s Eyes really start to shine. It really is a beautiful instrument that finds a natural habitat when it sweetly garlands the dark brooding tones of Badwan’s guitar. Though the band bring the show to a close after playing just forty minutes, there’s plenty of reasons to get excited about the forthcoming album. And, time enough to catch a glimpse of a group beginning to find its footing and rapidly carving out a place in music to call their own.
Review/photo by Phil