In the latest sonic odyssey, Dancing With the Cat Girls… Again! Clash Bowley unveils his most recent album, defying the initial impression of a concept-driven narrative. Bowley himself clarifies, “This is not a concept album, and has nothing in particular to do with Cat Girls beyond the first (title) song, where they are a stand-in for innocence and sweetness.” Interesting, so what he’s saying is these are metaphors and possibly themes to pop up during the album. I decided to actively listen for these themes throughout the album..
The album kicks off with the titular track, “Dancing with the Cat Girls… Again!” It unfolds as a deliberate slow burn, featuring otherworldly sounds that leave listeners pondering whether it’s a guitar or a fusion of synths. Bowley’s vocals weave a peculiar narrative, reflecting on a world ablaze as the sweet invitation to play emerges. I haven’t heard much music like this before and left wondering how I would classify. The first word that came to mind was “original.” It’s not too often that this happens but when it does it important to take note
“Situation Rising” introduces an alien-like atmosphere, with ample space for diverse tones, textures and colors to captivate the listener. Hard panning accentuates the song’s expansiveness, allowing vocals to breathe within the musical landscape. The mixing decisions were sometimes unusual but allowing this much space in the mix by panning different percussion instruments left and right did seem to leave plenty of room in the middle.
In “Living With the Ghosts,” a doubled-time beat creates an intoxicating contrast, accompanied by haunting vocals just above a whisper. The poignant lyrics delve into a spectral existence with the ghosts that never fade from sight. Bowley sings “The fire warms me But they feel it not When you are not quite there No such thing as hot But they like the illusion They like to pretend That they are not just ghosts Forever without end”
A standout track, “Lift,” propels the listener into a spaceship-like journey towards the stratosphere. Percussive elements and unique guitar sounds contribute to the song’s intriguing allure. “The Martian Rock” carries a sense of familiarity, evoking thoughts of a reinterpretation or cover.
The album’s centerpiece, “Into the Abyss (ft. Fritz Herold),” elevates the experimental aspect with hyperbolic vocals and eruptive chorus, possibly synthesized. There’s so much happening on this song that I suggest you put on a nice pair of headphones and emerge yourself into the sound design. It’s really a great song for audiophiles who enjoy the sonics of sound itself.
“Not At All Like Ours” continues the experimental exploration, creating an evolving and mutating soundscape with psychedelic and mystical undertones. “Qebhet” extends the sonic journey, introducing a slightly bluesy and melancholic dimension. “Hawk and Crow” emerges as an intimate sonic experience, reminiscent of Tom Waits, offering a down-to-earth conclusion to the album. Dancing With the Cat Girls… Again! stands as a uniquely crafted opus, inviting listeners to fully immerse themselves in its intricacies through the immersive embrace of headphones.