Cats In Space – Too Many Gods (2015)

The members of newly formed six-piece Cats In Space have been around for thirty years, and during that time they have worked with bands like The Sweet, Asia, T’Pau, Ian Gillan Band, Mike Oldfield, Airrace & Arena and many more. While not a genre I’m familiar with, this sort of “power pop rock” in the vein of acts like ELO, 10cc and Cheap Trick speaks to me in some sense and that’s why I felt that I needed to promote the record. You’ll also get a Queen reference here, as you should. Of all the bands I’ve named here, it’s Queen which I’m most familiar with and fans of those legendary rockers should definitely find just what they’re looking for here. Cats In Space is a real rockin’ album. It’s a disc where the verse flows right along with the chorus, and the chorus hits every time it comes in. Too Many Gods just feels classic, with an opener and title track (4:08) that caught my attention from the first note and had me singing right along by the end of the song. Then we got into “Stop” (3:43) which at first didn’t catch me, but as the track continued, I soon found myself enjoying it. “Last Man Standing” (4:08) is the kind of Beatles influenced piece that has a little bit of Elton John in it if you’ll listen. But definitely Elton’s more jauntier period. Then when you get into single, “Mr. Heartache” (4:00) there’s no going back. Sure, to today’s generation this one is going to sound as cheesy as humanly possible, but I found it to be as sweet as sugar, with a chorus that gets stuck in your head worse than anything that you can positively imagine. But at least I can agree with him on the subject matter. Too Many Gods sounds like the kind of rock record that you just haven’t heard in a while. It’s something that both myself and my parents could enjoy, but I don’t see a lot of younger folks getting into it, unless their parents raised them with the right kinds of musical influences. Man, I could sing along with this one all day long, but I could never sound as good as Paul Manzi or even one of the backup vocalists.

Aside from Greg Hart and Dean Howard’s guitar contributions, Andy Stewart plays the piano, synthesizer, vocoder and a wurlitzer which definitely adds to the atmosphere of the record, definitely giving it that classic post-progressive vibe. There are still some proggy and spacey sections on this disc where a saxophone (played by Greg Camburn) manages to intervene, reminding us that saxophones are still great instruments for the genre and are not used enough in this kind of music. The real icing to the cake on this one is “The Greatest Story Never Told” where the band really gets to leave their comfort zone of shorter “get to the punchline” tracks and instead allow for a bit more synth and atmosphere, showing that they haven’t completely left the progressive instrumentation behind altogether. Finally, we have “Man In The Moon” (4:49) where Mick Wilson takes over for the lead vocals and delivers a performance that sounds like Motown gone rock, delivering a passionate performance that should very well be floating all over radio stations right now. At first I thought it was a cover, but couldn’t find the original song anywhere. So I’m actually quite curious as to where they’ve been hiding this one for so long. If you’re looking for a classic rock record in this day and age, then Too Many Gods will deliver that and more. They don’t make music like this anymore, and the record proves it with hit after hit, no matter what the style or mood. This is how rock was once made, and it’s rather enthralling to hear it done just as well in this day and age. I’m quite happy with it, and I feel that you will be as well. Just as long as you’ve opened your mind to the classics. Try as you might, you just can’t beat them.

(12 Tracks, 49:00)

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