It is said that you don’t have to travel far to find good music, but you might have to go to Australia to find great music. The name of the band is The Cat Empire, and it consists of six members – a keyboardist, a DJ, two horn players, a drummer and a bassist. They’ve released four albums (three available in the U.S.), each of which displays another aspect of their genius musicality.
Their first, self-titled album shows the band’s heavy influence of Latin jazz, and ska. The music is catchy but it being the first album the band cut, they don’t try to fuse together these two musical styles. The songs are either easy-to-dance-to Latin funk or their own unique blend of party ska. Both styles, although very different, are played flawlessly, with each band member able to totally change the way they play their own instruments.
On their next album, Two Shoes, the band becomes more comfortable with their own talent and starts to mix and match different aspects of Latin jazz and ska with funk and reggae, creating a new, unreplicable sound. This powerful new music, not yet found in any American band, is complemented with lyrics that make your mind dance in contemplative thought and a lyrical style that is very Australian and simply fun.
Their third album, entitled So Many Nights, is the result of heavy touring. The songs on this album are songs that the band members wrote while on the road, traveling from city to city. The music is similar to that of their second album (though with a more experimental synthesizer), but their lyrics are less philosophical and more about real things that each band member felt while spending months on a bus. The album shows the band’s talent to combine lyrics and sound in a way that is unique and personal to each band member.
The Cat Empire might be one of the most revolutionary bands of our time. It is refreshing to listen to a band who knows not only how to really play their instruments, but even to use them to create musical moods not yet created by American bands.
Though The Cat Empire is a multiplatinum group in their native country, they’ve yet to cross over to America in a major way. So, check them out online at TheCatEmpire.com or MySpace.com/TheCatEmpire, or try to find the three of their albums that are available in the States.