I stopped in to see a good friend that is also one of my dealers (promos for review dealer– come on now!) and, although she is always excited to give me a new stack of albums to review, she seemed especially stoked as she handed over ‘Love Somebody’ by The Catalina. The previous time I saw her, she gave me a single and, as amazing as that single was, I just don’t have a place to write about singles. After spending some time with that single, I understood her excitement. I too was ecstatic to get this EP in my greedy hands and put it into my stereo.
This quick five-song EP kicked off with the familiar sound of “Love Somebody” which was the single I got a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with. Normally, I write these blogs with my first listen so you are literally getting my initial thoughts on a song but, clearly, that’s not the case for this one. I just want to be transparent. That being said, nothing changes the fact that this is an amazing track. It has all of the makings of a hit song. Catchy-beat, heart-warming lyrics that are sung in a voice full of passion… if you don’t start smiling when you first hear this song, well, there may be no hope for you. This is seriously the perfect introduction song for The Catalina and I highly suggest everyone take some time to listen to this track and to just love the love flow over you.
“Hindsight” has an almost 80’s rock vibe to it mostly due to the strong synth sound but don’t let that fool you. This young band absolutely puts a young twist on this old school vibe and they make it their own. Much like “Love Somebody”, this track has the makings of a top-40 hit. It’s anthemic, powerful, fun, but, most importantly, it’s so clearly a track from The Catalina and that’s the most charming part of this song. “Hindsight” was an instant favorite of mine and it definitely got a few listens before I was able to move onto the third track.
Third up is “La Vie En Rose”. Sure, the 80’s vibe was strong in “Hindsight” but I feel like “La Vie En Rose” takes it to the next level with electronic drums throughout the track. Again, and I can not stress this enough, as soon as the vocals come in, it’s clear who you are listening to and I absolutely love that. Vocalist James Howard’s voice is smooth and seductive in a way but it’s so polished and, for lack of a better word, perfect. When you add Adam Hepner on drums and Justin Jacobs on guitar, you are seriously given a top-notch band that clearly knows what they are doing and are doing it right.
“Easy Drinking” replaces the fun 80’s pop vibe with something a bit slower and more mature. Although it felt like a stark difference from the previous tracks, “Easy Drinking” fits and shows a side of The Catalina that you can hear glimpses of throughout the previous songs but never really hear it come to the spotlight. Although I’m not typically one for low-key sappy pop songs, I am a fan of this one.
Although I wasn’t ready for this quick EP to end, my stereo moved on to the final track “Fine Line (Looking At You)”. Although the last track on this release, you get even more elements thrown into the mix when it comes to this band including a keyboard intro that was giving me strong Motion City Soundtrack vibes. I feel like “Fine Line (Looking At You)” is the happy median between the happy-go-lucky-ness of the first couple of songs and then the more mature vibe of “Easy Drinking”. Although I realize I started this paragraph realizing that this was the last song on this release, I felt a sense of disappointment as this song faded out and left me in a quiet house.
Minneapolis is full of amazing musicians and bands and I think The Catalina just made that list. They fit in so well in the local scene with bands like Whosah and Yam Haus but I could also see them fitting in the national scene with bands like Flor and Cherry Pools. Regardless of what scene you would put these guys in, they will absolutely hold their own and will be a name that you will remember.
My Favorite Track(s): “Love Somebody”; “Hindsight”
For Fans Of: 80’s pop; Top-40; Smiling and Dancing
Dance-ability: 8.7 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Autumn slept upstairs while Artie tried knocking my water bottle off my desk
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8.5 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 8.4 out of 10
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