The Cat That Walks Alone is the title of one man band Cameron Laing who has experience writing for ‘various major label artists’. Which of course turns me off immediately. Yes, for no good reason, but hey, I’m reviewing it and I’m just being honest.
The sound here is some kind of dense folk pop with an impressive propulsion and sense of momentumn evident throughout. Synths and beating drums open things up and the song is built around the chord progression of a thousand 80’s Indie Pop songs, though most of all ‘The Streets Have No Name’ is brought to mind. This is where I kind of feel the ‘songwriter’ aspect coming through – ‘yes it’s predictable chords, but look what he does with it’. Well, to a point, the voices in my head are correct; the levels and layers of instrumentation and melody are smart and very well done, as is the clean and upfront production. But nothing new here.
The short, sharp title track leads into B-side ‘Love Will Always Come’ which is a much gentler creature (you can imagine it now right – picking guitars and fat piano chords?), predictably so. Except it kicks in half way through with what a friend of mine would call ‘disco’ beat. Distant horns swirl in and it’s pretty affecting, more homely and honest.
It’s these moments of surprise that work best on this single. In many ways it feels too much like they’ve thrown everything bar the kitchen sink at it; an approach which on the whole works, but I’m not convinced the songs underneath are strong enough and perhaps the thing most lacking is a strong personality behind it. Cameron’s voice has a sweet C86 tone to it, perhaps too laid back for the full on folk rock attempted here. Technically, the whole package is faultless but I feel I’m lacking something to hook onto. Still, could imagine hearing it on Radio 2, so maybe I’m not the fish it is trying to lure.