A Different Ocean
You can hear the inner workings on this full-lengther from Wellington group, What Noisy Cats. You can hear so many different influences – the Wilco-esque opener, Little Liar, the older Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo cowpunk riff with a bit of Calexico’s salt on Meet Me In Montauk, the loping groove of The Band by way of Ryan Adams on Finest Clothes – and yet it never feels like a contrived stick-a-pin-in-the-map attempt; it feels, always, like the music this talented group have wished to make. Some great listening has gone into the writing of these strong songs, that much is obvious, but it never feels like just Record Collection Pop. Sum of influences, absolutely – good taste though, correctly, thoughtfully ordered and filtered.
And if you thought alt-country was a washed-up/meaningless term it’s clear these guys do too and were never really aiming for that. Like Wilco, like Ryan Adams, they’ve seen past that while retaining the best qualities of that early-00s sound. Running With The Birds has a whispered Ryan Adams-like vocal but the song explodes off into a gnarled and jangly, almost shoe-gaze world which is where this band is so good at adding its own flavour.
The spectral charm of In The Morning, the jaunty country-shuffle of The Lake By The Sea, the Flying Nun guitars across Sleeper and the spacious jam-rock o On That Fateful Day – these are all songs I want to hear again and again, there are so many of the right sounds channelled on this album that I sure hope the band has more miles to run.