After nearly two years together Cat Bear Tree sneaked out of the practice space they were hiding in to finally release the EP everyone was waiting for and it was worth it. Cat Bear Tree are a South London-based three-piece indie pop band who utilise breathtaking three part harmonies and then tear into their songs with jutting rhythms and complex riffs. Think mid noughties indie, Sky Larkin, Bloc Party and a dash of the relatively modern Warpaint should give you a glimpse into Cat Bear Tree’s sound. Cat Bear Tree are Zoe Konez (guitar and vocals), Claudia Mansaray (bass) and Sarah Smith (drums). The six track EP Let’s Share Hearts will be self-released on Monday 5 August and features some of the band’s best songs.
Opener ‘Blind’ is a sparse beautiful song that sees bassist Claudia take over lead vocals and the band showcase their impressive harmonies. The difference between Cat Bear Tree and many other bands around at the moment is that they actually sing. Now I’m a lover of out of key, monotoned vocals but it is refreshing to hear a well practiced band do what they do best.
‘Tournaments’ sees the band at their indie pop best showcasing the lyrical density of Bloc Party at their finest set to a foreboding, dark track that builds up to rapturous chorus. ‘Masqueraders’ opens with a gloomy, almost Throwing Muses-esque riff, while Zoe’ guitar and Claudia’s bass toss and tumble over each other to finish the other’s riff, complementing each other perfectly. “Freedom is a dirty word” cries Zoe. It certainly is and as the government parades vans with “go home” plastered on the side and the UK Border Agency take liberty with personal rights by stopping and searching people at stations , Cat Bear Tree’s statement feels more apt than ever.
‘Sleep Talk’ sees Claudia take over lead vocals again and is a softly sung love song that documents the slow breakdown of a relationship. ‘Firing Line’ is a straight forward indie pop song that sees Zoe asking for protection from the woes of the world. The EP closer ‘Crayons’ is the band’s most obvious nod to riot grrrl and the 90s, which has seen a resurgence in popularity of late mostly because it is far enough in the past for teenagers to think of it as cool and close enough that the people involved at the time are now in important jobs in the media and will probably wanna cover a piece on Sleater-Kinney over Mumford & Sons any day.
They certainly don’t have the ramshackle, ‘we just learnt our instruments five days ago’ feel but I don’t think that’s what they want anyway. Cat Bear Tree are a professional, well rehearsed band who are showing the crusty punks you can play your instruments, sing in tune and learn the words and still be punk. Cat Bear Tree have put serious time and dedication into this EP and it shows in the quality of the songwriting and arrangements. We can only imagine what a full LP would sound like. This is a band that you need in your life. Take note, you saw them here first.
Let’s Share Hearts EP is released on August 5
For more information: facebook.com/CatBearTreeBand