CATGOD – Feel It Go Round (own label)

Feel It Go RoundAn Oxford-based five-piece centred around siblings Robin Christensen-Marriott and Catherine Marriott, they trade in slightly woozy, hushed pastoral psychedelia that clearly has an affinity for such similar fey folk spirits as Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan and Bridget St John. As such, if they don’t flutter your heart, chances are Feel It Go Round won’t either. If they do, however, then you’ll be intoxicated from the start with ‘New Cross’, an apology about getting out of bed on the wrong side and being a bit snappy and the following ‘Sleep In’, a title that, featuring Cat on flute, goes a long way to capturing the album’s general ambience.

The tempo and temperature here pretty much sustains throughout the album, moving from Robin singing the minimally-backed, extreme-introvert, depression-themed ‘Cold, Numb And Empty’, though (unlike the lyrically akin ‘What They Think’ – “when I’m on my own why can’t I feel happy?”) it does have an optimistic breakthrough despite the musical permafrost. However, the pessimism is soon back in play as, on the first line of the piano shaded ‘Heartbeat In My Hand’, Cat sings “What if mum passed away?”, though it actually reveals itself as a sort of love song, or at least a transfer of need to her lover and an awakening of much they actually care.

The problematic nature of relationships gets another prod with the part-spoken narcotic slur of Robin’s ‘Owning You’ where, even if he’s from Oxford, curiously conjures thoughts of Ivor Cutler as he talks of realising that he’s grown up to become his father with the same complexes.

Vague jazz textures seep into ‘Feel It Go Round’ with its scratchy percussion and basic don’t let the moment slip past lyric, Patrick Bolton on early hours piano for ‘Blood’, another song soaked in the way being apart from a new love can send you into despondency (“Is it too soon to tell them ‘I miss you’?”) before the hazy, title track arrives with its French Horn and violin as Robin, tapping into a English bucolic John Martyn, croons “Sometimes when you can’t find what you’re looking for – it’s right in front of you”, the strings swelling as he bemoans “I’m not respected by your dad/It’sbeen two years and it makes me sad”.

It ends with Cat posing the question ‘WhyGo?’ against a spare acoustic guitar as the dark clouds of disappointment and emotional distance settle again over a relationship that’s run its course (“In your eyes all the love’s gone”). Probably not the sort of album you dig out when you take your first date back to your place, but, to borrow the imagery of their name, when you’re not feline groovy this will soundtrack those bedsit shadows nicely.

Mike Davies

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‘Heartbeat In My Hand’ – live:

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