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The urge to create wonder with sound is rarely indulged in today’s utilitarian pop landscape. In an age when a piece of music can be erased with the click of a mouse, there are few artists pouring their heart and soul into what Brian Wilson called “teenage symphonies” – lovingly sculpted three-minute slices of aural heaven, which grip the listener’s ears and emotions in equal measure. In that mundane world, CAT’s EYES really are a godsend.
They are a duo, formed by Rachel Zeffira, a renowned Canadian opera soprano and classical multi-instrumentalist based in London, and Faris Badwan, the statuesque singer from noisy British psychedelic-rockers The Horrors. In the collision of their two very separate worlds, something magical has come into being, which brings together all kinds of dualities – pop/classical, traditional/avant-garde, acoustic/electronic, virtuoso/novice, male/female, happy/sad and, why not, good/evil – into a unique and mindblowing whole.
Their debut album, called simply ‘Cat’s Eyes’, is a romantic pop masterpiece fit to dine at the same table as mid-’60s productions by Phil Spector, Joe Meek or Shadow Morton, but with a fiercely modern, experimental premise, which constantly leaves you wondering just what you’re listening to, and how on earth it was created.