It's hard to avoid cliches when praising Cat Malojian's new album The Dawn Chorus but if ever a band made the jump to 'widescreen' then this is it.
The tone is fairly experimental as beats tear through their familiar acoustic sound and there is even a funky bassline on King of the Quagmire.
That's not to say this is a novelty release or should not be taken as seriously as their criitcally acclaimed debut.
From the opening track Where Do We Go it's clear this is a serious album and Alphabet Song is one of the catchiest tunes of the year, hinting at a 'full band' sound that is certain to translate into an essential part of Malojian's already irresistable live experience.
Other highlights include You Don't See Me which includes a synth-led melody at the start of the track that eventually morphs into a lengthy xylophone wig-out that people will be humming for years to come.
No review would be complete without mentioning the title track. Clocking in just under nine minutes, it's clear this is a key part of the album and interestingly it's probably the song that sounds most like the Cat Malojian of old. The melody is relatively sparse as layers of keyboards and drums make way for the more-familiar sound of the band's Lowden acoustic guitars.
The result is that the songwriting stands on its own and the track serves as a reminder as to how versatile this band are, using subtle atmospheric effects and backing vocals on what is probably the album's gentlest song. The epic tune has already converted Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody to Cat Malojian's genius.
As good as it is, The Dawn Chorus does not eclipse the other songs. There are no disappointments among the nine tracks and the band even manage a perfect finish with the Grandaddy-esque Can You Hear Me.
Indeed, it is easy to compare Cat Malojian with Jason Lytle's band such is the quality of this release. The best thing of all is that like their influences' better works (think Neil Young, Teenage Fanclub or early Dylan), Cat Malojian's new album hints that the best is yet to come.
Watch the video for Cat Malojian's We're Alright