Cat Heaven - The Litterbox Sessions
Record Label: Tummy Rock Records
Release Date: October 26, 2011
The Litterbox Sessions is a collection of simple songs that somewhat seems to be following in the vein of more old-school punk, judging from the sloppy production and the vocals. It's not bad for a band to try to recreate the stylings of their predecessors, but Cat Heaven's attempt to the sound is stale and lackadaisical.
Not unlike many bands in the genre, Cat Heaven tend to rely on simple repeating chord progressions. In track 2, "Dictator Rock," this works rather well. In fact, "Dictator Rock," would not seem too out-of-place in an album by a Ramones cover band. However, despite proclaiming the words "I still miss 2004 'cause now there's just no more hardcore," the album is ironically lacking in energy and sounds far too lackadaisical for what you'd expect from a punk album.
Many of the songs actually begin fairly energetic. "Garden City Hardcore," starts off with an interesting bass line before fading beneath the lead and rhythm guitar parts. "Flatspot" is one of the few songs that remains relatively consistent the entire way through. However, most of the songs very quickly lose steam about a minute after the vocals begin. By the end of track 4, "Our Last Days (in the Netherlands)," The Litter Box Sessions becomes almost painfully boring to listen to. Even the better tracks get entirely derailed by one thing or another: "Dictator Rock" falls apart at the chorus' end - ironically when the singer says repeats the word 'fun' four times - leaving the rest of the band trying awkwardly to pick up the pieces.
Perhaps surprisingly, the lyrics are often the best part about the record. Most of The Litterbox Sessions involve familiar and recurring themes like being on the road, to vague girl problems, or the nostalgia of friends found in "Garden City Hardcore." Aside from the overall adequate lyrics found throughout the album, what really makes it worthwhile are the humorous lines such as 'we don't play hipster slop, we play dictator rock' and 'it's the 80s, do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan.'
Unfortunately, despite the good lyrics, none of them can really resonate with listeners. As amusing or humorous as they are, the lyrics involve nothing you haven't heard before. Moreover, the lead singer's voice is unspectacular and often static, greatly contributing to the dullness of the record. And while the poor and homegrown production reinforces the authenticity of songs, most of the songs lack anything dynamic, moving, or even mildly memorable.