Catholic Action rack up catchy debut In Memory Of

Catholic Action - In Memory OfCatholic Action are a band that have been on my radar for a while now, having been the front-runners in a new wave of exciting bands to come out of Glasgow in the last few years, alongside Baby Strange, White, Tijuana Bibles and The Vegan Leather.

What I’m instantly drawn to, before I even push play, is that the genre’s down as pop - unmistakably clear intent from the band that just because there’s a couple of guitars on it, that doesn’t automatically make it a ‘guitar record’ that you can file alongside the usual types. This band has bigger ideas.

"L.U.V." opens the album, a song that if you’re familiar with the band, you’ll instantly recognise with its "Parklife"-esque intro. The song’s incredibly catchy, but not in the conventional sense like many dull-as-dishwater pop acts today, who simply recycle a popular and overused generic synth line, give some half-arsed account of their struggles living off $100,000 a week, and then clock up a billion listens as if by magic two weeks later. This seems a lot more honest and organic in the songwriting approach. It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into doing Catholic Action's influences justice while managing to make something original from it, creating a unique sound which harks back to hearing Franz Ferdinand’s debut for the first time.

Cure-like new single "Propaganda" is a slice of pop perfection, and one that I needed to replay several times as it clocks in at just 1:48. Like one of those mini caramel slices, you can’t just have one, you need at least 7 until you feel sufficiently satisfied. Credit to the band for that though, as iPod generation attention spans are nearing goldfish levels now, so short, snappy songs are looking like they’re the way forward.

"Black and White" showcases the strength and range of Chris McCrory’s vocals and it’s a nice contrast to the frantic start to the album. The danger some bands face when they slow the pace down on their tracks is it can get boring and seem like a filler track; this is definitely not the case here, and it’s one of the album’s strongest songs. "Breakfast" has a driving rhythm section throughout which guides the track along nicely, allowing for some off-centre guitar work which, like a dog fresh off a lead, has a mind of its own and goes suitably bananas, before returning to its comfort zone a few minutes later.

"The Shallows" is the track on the album where you’re most drawn into the lyrics. An incredibly frank account of McCrory’s hometown of growing up in Erskine. “Put your faith in a pop song and grow your hair” is the line of hope that lifts the song. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan to start with, but it’s definitely a grower and after a few listens it transformed into one of the standout tracks on a very impressive album. There’s a couple of tracks towards the end which aren’t as magnetic on the ears as the first half, and they seem to lose a bit of steam (e.g. "Childhood Home"), but this album swings and connects a lot more than it misses, which is all you could hope for in a debut album.

Persistence is key with In Memory Of - if you don’t get it first time, listen again, and then again after that if you need to. What works so well with this album is the variety and rough diamond approach to the production. Many bands that adopt a live approach to their albums fall at the last hurdle, with low key production which they will claim is deliberate to capture the carnage of their live show. Catholic Action have proven that you can still capture raw and scatterbrain-sounding songs, but you can polish them to make an easier listen which adds a huge amount of value to the tracks themselves.

Put your faith in Catholic Action and grow your hair.

Release: 20th October 2017, ModernSky UK


One Response to “Catholic Action rack up catchy debut In Memory Of”


  1. Catholic Action rack up catchy debut In Memory Of – Live List - 26/10/2017

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