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International Velvet

Catatonia

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Album Review

Prior to International Velvet, Catatonia offered modest, lovely pleasures — pretty, ringing pop songs filled with sweet and sour melodies. Apparently, the band was concerned that they were a little too precious, a little too similar to late-'80s indie pop groups like the Primitives, so they beefed up their sound, turned up the guitars and toughened up their attack for International Velvet, their second major-label album (the first to be released in America). It's a gambit that fails as often it succeeds. Part of the problem is that the hard rock sounds forced, never quite rocking with the abandon it should and keeping much of the album grounded. More problematically, Cerys Matthews has a captivating voice but a weakness for gimmicks — "I Am the Mob" and "Mulder and Scully" have terrific hooks, but it's hard to get with their self-conscious pop culture references. Still, at least they bring memorable melodies to the songs. When their songwriting comes up short, there isn't enough attitude or snarl to the performances to make them enjoyable — which is precisely what the sonic revamping should have given them. Even with the flaws, International Velvet has its fair share of pop delights — it just doesn't deliver as many as Way Beyond Blue, which had a surplus of melody and grace.

Customer Reviews

awesome

i have no idea what album whoever wrote that thing up at the top of the page was listening to. This is one of my all-time favorite Albums and one of my all-time favorite bands. most definately worth getting.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in Wales

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The most traditional pop band of all the Welsh bands to emerge in the post-Brit-pop days of the mid-'90s, Catatonia reworked the sound of jangling late-'80s alternative rock with a punchy, amateurish indie rock attack. Comprised of vocalist Cerys Matthews, guitarist/vocalist Mark Roberts, guitarist Owen, bassist Paul Jones, and drummer Aled Richards, Catatonia formed in...
Full Bio
International Velvet, Catatonia
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