When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That’s how the saying goes. Something less than ideal pops up in life and with one twist of creativity, that very same circumstance can turn out to be a unique blessing all its own. Yet, for some, the best way out of an unpleasant situation is more about just changing they way they see things, than changing the things themselves. Might sound like the same approach but while one is an outward act, the other happens within and certainly, the latter can definitely feel difficult at times. After all, suggesting someone will away a bad day sounds nice on paper but go to put that advice into action and then see how things go.
What’s a self-adjusted change in attitude have to do wth New York City based blues-rock& roll fusion group, Carrie and the Cats? Well, the swinging and soulful quintet just released a new music video for single, “Feels Like Gold,” and narrative at hand is all about deciding to look through, and live by, a rose-colored lens – at least when it comes to being thankful for the love of one’s life and the value of that bond even in the face of less: less money, less stuff, and less stature.
Carrie and the Cats is:
Carrie Wicks (Vocals)
Will Bart (Guitar)
Chris Parrett (Bass)
Billy Hanley (Saxophone)
Danny Roman (Drums)
The song kicks things off well within the bounds of a fluid, old-fashioned bluesy rockin’ romp, with the lively rolling of low toms, bright splash of cymbals, and an alternating, two chord based, arpeggiated motif playing out on Bart’s Johnny Cash-esque toned guitar. The eventual arrival of Wicks’ singing, which wastes no time on vocal build up with the thematic and exceedingly catchy line, “I’ve got a dollar in my pocket, but a million dollar dream,” shines throughout. There’s a great combination of power and clarity but also evidence that Wicks maintains control of her voice, which is something that isn’t always a given with singers.
Furthermore, with a song like “Feels Like Gold,” and the band’s overall affiliation toward genres and performative styles that thrive with writing across multiple octaves and with so much expectation of smooth but intense flow, it would be very easy to find the performance sincerity in spades but also hear it damaged by things like poor breath control and-or forceful belting. There’s some effectual polish given to Wicks’ voice but it’s minimal and overall, things are actually kept to a rather natural state of sound, meaning the mixing flourish isn’t there to hide improper technique if there is any. The video matches this sense of balancing naturalness with standards, as the video has lots of friendly DIY character but still plays out as a seasoned piece of videography. It’s not all that different from the well-made but community built character of Wylder’s comical music videos for “Bitter” or “Swells.”
Though Carrie and the Cats is really only one element outside of the standard rock band configuration thanks to the presence of Hanley’s saxophone parts, collectively the quintet exude a blend that is nothing like the cookie cutter cuts of rock and pop radio. Even for a comparable vocalist, music style, and accompanying band for someone like, Elle King, who has come into a plethora of mainstream success on what originally avoided the indie rock and synth pop core fueling much of Top 40 today, there’s a sense of containment to the spark that could have been. There’s a forced structure to it that somehow depletes its natural energy, despite a lack of mistakes. Conversely, Carrie and the Cats even having very precise and comfortable chemistry of its own, with the improvisatory quality of “Feels Like Gold,” and the very apparent lighthearted camaraderie of the band in the video (as well as real life), the whole project – audio and visual elements both, present a come-what-may, ragtag sense of self rather than an impression of attempting to increase separation between the group and its listeners. For although Carrie and the Cats have steadily risen in visibility through the local scenes of Long Island and subsequently the beloved stomping grounds of popular venues in New York City, the five friends always feel like just that: friends and musicians people can approach without feeling like there needs be a pretense for showing enthusiasm or support. In essence, whether intentional or not, this seasoned set of stage performers maintains its neighborhood feel, even with factors like fancier production and bigger audiences. The only reason it would be criminal for this band to stay a neighborhood group is that the kind of get up and dance spirit Carrie and the Cats incites belongs in local-powered venues in states all around the country.
Carrie and the Cats are booked to play The Great South Bay Music Festival this coming weekend.
Full show details below.
Carrie and the Cats at The Great South Bay Music Festival
Sunday July 15, 2018
Shorefront Park (Clamshell Bandshell)
49 Smith Street
Patchogue, NY 11772
Set time: 4:00 PM / 16:00
Tickets available HERE.
Follow along with Carrie and the Cats through its official website and these social media outlets: