Guttercats “Eternal Life”

Ancient Egypt and eternal life seem to be a recurring theme on this 5th GUTTERCATS album. Do cats really have nine lives? These guys could probably answer the question, paying tribute to wild life in opening track “Wild Animal” with their usual melancholy but they also know that eternal life might not be for everyone, facing life, time and the duty to keep the fire burning in “Keep The Flame” and its GUN CLUB atmosphere. “Dagger In My Heart” might be one of my favourite tracks on this new album, a sad dark pop song with a “Strawberry Field” mellotron in the verse and a rockin’ end. Listening to this album sometimes brings The DOORS to mind (“Farewell”) although the omnipresent violin almost takes us to old celtic territories. On the other hand, “Dark Room” takes us to psychedelic seas before it offers us the catchiest chorus on the album while “End Of Times” and “Know Your Roots” both bring a Western touch to the album. You’ll also hear a bit of a ROWLAND S. HOWARD atmosphere in “If I Had A Loaded Gun”, this one might also stay in your head after you’ve listened to it! The record finishes on the sorrowful notes of “Eternal Life” and “Sweet Lies, Betrayal & Adultery” (the CD version has an acoustic version of “Wild Animal” as a bonus track.) GUTTERCATS still follow their path against all odds and never deceive. /Laurent C.

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Guttercats “Follow Your Instinct”

Paris’ GUTTERCATS are back with a 4th album already. Opener “A Trip Down Memory Lane” displays more pop influences than in their previous works, although you still can hear the obvious GUN CLUB influence. The band also gets darker with “(Beyond The Limits) Before I Die”, the guitars still have this cowboy slide feel, and the drums sometimes get crazy à la Keith Moon. You’ll hear some 60s influences in “I Wonder”, “I Promise” (and its psychedelic end), as well as in the sax infused ballad “Sweet Little Sister” (not to be mistaken for SKID ROW‘s famous sleaze rock’n’roll hit!)
My personal favourite is probably “Follow Your Instinct” and its repetitive, yet groovy hypnotic post-punk tones.
The band’s music sometimes gets close to NICK CAVE‘s (“Don’t Cry On My Shoulder”), and often gets drama-romantic (“Down In a Hole”, “No Remorse No Regrets”) although “On The Road” reminds me of Guts’ old band BABY STRANGE since it goes more into early 90s British glam rock’n’roll territories.
The production of this new album fits the band very well since it sounds live enough to imagine how these songs can sound once they are played on a stage and under the lights.
Let’s face it, GUTTERCATS are only getting better and better with age, just like good wine!/Laurent C.

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Guttercats “Beautiful Curse”

GuttercatsBCReviewing a band you played in is far from being the easiest thing to do. Although I wasn’t a full time member, I helped them out for more than a year, played quite a few shows with them and recorded half of their previous album “Black Sorrow.”
Anyway, it was a few years ago, so it probably helps to listen to this album with an outside-ish hear… “Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” is the first song I’ve heard before the album was released, and it actually is the perfect song to open this album, since it shows the band under its best light, DOGS D’AMOUR touches with cool cowboy-ish guitars by Thierry Jones (BAD LOSERS, The JONES…) who also appears on the pop stained “Without You I’m Nothing” (not a PLACEBO cover!) Second song “Nobody Knows” is also one of the best tracks on here, mixing cool STONES/JACOBITES guitars/piano with vocals reminding of Jeffree Lee Pierce, one of Guts’ most perciptible influences. The darkest, almost gothic side of the band can be heard in “Dead Love’s Shadow”, and even more on the acoustic Rocky Horror-ish bonus version you can find on the CD. It’s good to see the band exploring these gloomy territories.
15 musicians have been involved in the making of this new album, so you’ll hear a lot of arrangements (strings, saxophone, harmonica, etc.) on “Beautiful Curse.” The spirit of ROWLAND S. HOWARD is floating over “Death & The Girl” and “Night Of The Vampire” (ROKY ERICKSON cover) ; and a good dose of hypnotic 70s rock’n’roll can be heard in songs like “Fire”, or “Way Down To Hell”, which should make every GUN CLUB fan dance. On a different note, I think “Hot On Our Trail” (a great song from the BABY STRANGE days that unfortunately only appears as a bonus track on the CD version) would have been better as a last song instead of “Slow Down”, and the new version of “Black Sorrow” is not bad, but dispensable on a new release since it was already on the previous album. Anyway, “Beautiful Curse” is still the best rock album hailing out from Paris I’ve heard in a while!
Now on the resuscitated record label Closer records, the GUTTERCATS are ready to hit the road with their best album to date under their arms… /Laurent C.

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Closer Records