UK rockers Cats in Space return with their inimitable variety of pomp, glam, melody and outstanding musicianship. Atlantis provides all those elements in spades, along with the expected lyrics reflecting the society in which we live today.
One enforced change to the line-up comes in the form of new vocalist Damien Edwards. Edwards had previously found fame and rave reviews from his time starring in Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds musical.
To be honest, there is little discernible difference between Edwards and the vocalist from the previous album Daytrip to Narnia Paul Manzi because both have the rounded AOR power required for this type of music, so no quality is lost at all.
The members of Cats in Space, you could say, have been around the block a time or two. Guitarist Greg Hart is most famous for being in Asia, while fellow guitarist Dean Howard has played with Ian Gillan and Bad Company. Drummer Steevi Bacon played with Robin Trower and keyboard maestro Andy Stewart was a member of Moritz. Completing the line-up is bassist Jeff Brown of The Sweet.
To say Atlantis carries on the great work of Daytrip would be accurate, but somewhat of an understatement. This new release, out November 27, 2020, on Harmony Factory Records, has more pomp and is harder in places.
The obligatory scene-setting instrumental “Dive” opens proceedings which I can see being used to open live shows. The album gets up and running properly with “Spaceship Superstar” which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Prism track of the same name. Many thanks to fellow writer Ivan Galesic for pointing that out. Whatever its origins it’s a hard rock singalong winner to get us in the mood.
There are hard rock tracks littered throughout but interspersed are interesting diversions, such as “Sunday Best”. This is like rag-time on steroids and catchy as hell.
As for lyrical commentaries, there is “I Fell Out of Love with Rock and Roll” which bemoans the fickleness of trends in the music biz. “Revolution” covers the shitstorm that is 2020 and “Marionettes” tells the tale of everyday folk being fed lies and controlled by politicians or big corporations. Despite these gloomy subjects the music is still uplifting, with occasional great Brian May inspired riffs, melodies to die for and cracking solos.
There’s a massive nod to Boston on “Magic Lovin’ Feelin’” and the title track is a beautiful way to finish. The track “Atlantis” has all the classic Cats in Space tropes. Passionate lyrics are there, about the desire for a brave new world, along with crunching riffs, sweet solos and big, big sounds.
Atlantis doesn’t deliver much that is unexpected, it’s just that there’s more of everything. More passion, heavier licks, more pomp (yes, really) and bigger crescendos. It’s an absolute joy.
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