Cats and Cats and Cats - If I’d Had An Atlas (Function)

Not a hint of forced lo-fi or chillwave here, no sir.

Released Jul 5th, 2010 via Function / By Rob Evans
Cats and Cats and Cats - If I’d Had An Atlas (Function) If I’d Had An Atlas is a lot of things. The simplest description is: it’s an album by Cats and Cats and Cats. You could say ‘debut album’ if you wanted, but you’d have to either forget or re-classify the 2006 release of the full-length and post rock-leaning Sweet Drunk Everyone.

Another description is: it’s an example of change really not being a bad thing, if you learn from it and don’t just jump from bandwagon to bandwagon. You can hear flashes of every Cats release here, but only the best parts. This is a band that has learned to work out their strengths and carry them forward, constantly adding to them with new influences and ideas. This time around, they’ve added in some simple folk touches to their epic math-pop blend – delicate acoustic guitars and choral singing join the tokenly soaring post-rock violins and strange jerky rhythms. Not a hint of forced lo-fi or chillwave here, no sir.

Yet another: it’s proof that if you take things slowly, work on them lovingly and don’t rush your art, it will show. It’s been three years since the last Cats record, and a couple of the songs on Atlas were found on the 'Oh Boy!' single last year. So much care has been put in to this record, and the enthusiasm and love that the band have for their music shines through at every point. Singer Ben George is far from note-perfect, but he throws everything he has behind his words. At one point he sings an entire song in Japanese. The band are relentless, swinging from roaring and noisy crescendos to gorgeously airy violin pieces by way of pounding guitar rock, and everything flows together perfectly. The album art has had similar love and care bestowed upon it – the liner notes fold out in to a big map, with the lyrics to every song forming an island. It looks amazing.

The best description, though, is probably this: it’s perfect. This is how pop music should be made. Cats and Cats and Cats have shown themselves to be one of the UK’s most inventive and passionate bands, with an album that sounds so mind-blowingly huge that it could take on the world. If If I’d Had An Atlas doesn’t make this band blow up, then we are most likely all doomed to be listening to bad synth-pop until the end of the universe.