Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio, we’ve been taking a listen to “Cat’s Paw”, the latest single from Washington (US) band, What Strange Beasts.
The band tackle some deep subject matter in their songs; science, philosophy and the human predicament with ample emotion and personal touch. Their forthcoming 26 track (yes, you heard that right, 26) , Starlight’s Castaways is due for release on February 3, 2023.
Cat’s Paw starts with some swirling Pink Floyd-like (think Brain Damage) stereo synth sounds. As the full band sound comes in, the song takes on a slightly rocky version of Genesis or Yes. This is superb 70s-style prog rock!
What we love most about this track are its different sections and the band’s ability to tie these together seamlessly. This keeps the listener constantly invested in the track and kept us on our toes. From grand-sounding sections to moments with galloping toms work, this is a band who have clearly put a great deal of thought into the presentation and arrangement of their music. The halftime sections had us all slow nodding and the quality of musicianship here is evident.
The layered and harmony vocals in the track are superb and with such a great mix, the vocals are clear and present but not dominating. The guitars have some gorgeous and authentic tones on them and the Jon Lord-style organ fills are a joy to listen to.
Cat’s Paw has a clever fade out to the guitar on its own as the rest of the band fades away. This is a unique touch and just displays another facet of the band’s creativity and attention to detail.
Ideas from our ears
The production on this track is great. Each instrument is clear in the mix without dominating. To our ears, a small shelf boost in the top 1-2 octaves would increase the brightness a little, helping the synth sounds and drum track to really shimmer and shine. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
If you’re looking for authentic 70s-style prog rock in the vein of Deep Purple, Yes, Genesis and Pink Floyd then look no further than What Strange Beats latest track, Cat’s Paw. Excellent musicianship and creativity. One’s to watch.