On a Monday night not too long ago, I found myself in the company of a few like minded (i.e. indiepop obsessed) friends chatting about records. When talk turned to YAY! Records, as these conversations so often do, it took virtually no time for all of us to begin marveling over just how good the most recent Catwalk single is. "It gives you something new with every listen," remarked one friend, "That last song especially..."
Oddly enough, I had been meaning to go back and listen to that single again. It received many spins on my turntable when I acquired it earlier this summer. Several times I sat down to write something about back then, but I could just never quite get my head around any way to write about this single that would do it proper justice. After the conversation that I took part in on Monday, I realized that I really wanted to try again.
I think this recent interview with Catwalk mastermind Nick Hessler helped to crystallize for me why it is that Catwalk produce such good singles that are so difficult for me to get my head around. Hessler doesn't consider Catwalk to be an "indiepop" band. They are, rather, just a band who happen to use a pop template to create their songs, and they happen to have so far only released records for an indiepop label. Therefore if they happen to produce songs that bear any resemblance to bands that came before them, it's simply because they are using the same recording processes as those bands, and probably share some of those bands' ideas about what constitutes a good pop song.
My friend was absolutely right, of course, the highlight here is the last song of the b side, "I Can't Believe." Yet, it's the a side, "Past Afar," that is really getting under my skin today. Perhaps it's the fact that I spent so much time with the b side this summer that the a side feels like a bit of an unearthed treasure? Perhaps it is the fact that it's one of those songs whose intro, and through line makes you feel like you should be driving while listening to it? Perhaps it's the fact that song is actually about driving fast to escape something vague? Perhaps it's the fact that listening to the song makes the listener feel like they escape the mundaneness of their own life? Perhaps it's the fact that this particular listener has also been repeating the Honeybunch song "Walking Into Walls," quite a bit lately - whose lyrics describe exactly how she feels about everything at the moment, but offer nothing in the way of escape, just reassurance that she is not alone in feeling that way? Perhaps it is all of these things for me, but really it has everything to do with the fact that all three songs on this 7" are just great songs. They need not be analyzed, and/or compared with other songs. They simply need to be enjoyed.
You can still pick up a copy of Catwalk's "Past Afar" 7" directly from the YAY! records shop.
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