What’s the opposite of a story that warms your heart? One that sends a chill to your very soul? Or maybe one that sends poisonous hatred coursing through your veins? Whatever it is – the following story may result in one, the other, or both.
Strolling languidly through Manchester’s busy morning streets the other day, I was nearly hit by a car. I’d hate to make assumptions about the moron who swung his Chelsea Tractor onto Cambridge Street at 50 MPH, but I guess that, by his obese, pasty pallor and the ease with which he raised a venomous middle finger as he nearly turned me into so many lumps of twitching meat, he was a banker, an estate agent or both.
I spluttered in impotent rage, but quickly consoled myself that he’d soon be the victim of crunch-induced bankruptcy and then dead, either by his own clammy hand, or, hopefully, due to a hugely painful heart attack.
Attaining satisfaction from a world that seems geared hopelessly against you is a tough business. Just read this fascinating, wonderful, depressing article by Steve Albini on what he considers the realities of getting a recording contract. If Today’s New Band, Cats For Peru, have also read that article, it doesn’t show, as they’re grinding out fine songs with an attitude that suggest they’re not glumly reaching for the bumper pack of Aspirin yet.
In Love In A Lift, Cats For Peru show they have whatever it is that separates the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys and the Pulps from the Menswe@rs. Even if we sidle past the title, a fabulously UK-centric variation on the Aerosmith standard, there’s plenty to love in just this one song.
Being able to fit chanting choruses, keyboard whistling, blisteringly fuzzy guitars, single-mindedly direct lyrics, rat-a-tat-tat drums and a laser-focused rock punch all in one song is the mark of a band with vision and determination. As a song, it’s brilliant; as a statement of intent, it’s even better. It’s more of a manifesto than, ironically, Manifesto, which is a good song, but after the soaring cut-and-thrust of Love In A Lift, you’ll find it hard to fully concentrate.
It’s hard to define what elevates one particular band above others. So any attempts to justify why I think Cats For Peru are just peachy are doomed to end in failure. But they are, and have, something – an attitude, and angle, a bloody-mindedness – which means that their particular attempt at cracking the same rock ‘n’ roll nut is a crunchy, idiosyncratic delight. Their hardest task will be to match their own early standards. It’s going to be fun for all of us as we find out. Listen here!
As the second band in two days to hail from Sheffield, they may also find themselves as the meat in a Sheffield New Band Triple-Bill, if we can get our act together and find a third for tomorrow…