The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Cat's Eyes
Cat's Eyes Isobel George , April 7th, 2011 09:10

Add your comment »

The recent death of Elizabeth Taylor prompted a flurry of feverish raptures on her relationship with Richard Burton, with people falling over each other’s adjectives as they strove to nail exactly what was so fascinating about the ‘love affair of the century’. What it came down to was this: he was so very male, she so very female. Camille Paglia described Taylor lasciviously as "a luscious, opulent ripe fruit", Caitlin Moran as "heavy, like wet roses". Burton himself, the archetypal gruff, boozy, chiselled womanizer termed his paramour "lavish. She was a dark, unyielding largesse. In short, she was too bloody much".

All terribly torrid. But more than nostalgia, comfy and romantic (oh my lord, she took his final letter to HER GRAVE), a battle of the sexes along traditional lines, after decades of gender-bending, androgyny and pansexual proddings into the unknown, has acquired an arse-backwards (or forwards?) sort of exoticism. Which seems stranger, more enigmatic to you? Gaga's prosthetic cheekbones, eyeball chin and fingers up her unclassifiable bits, or Taylor and Burton's moody Much Ado About Nothing dynamic of opposite tension?

The allure of this debut offering from Cat’s Eyes, Faris Badwan's pet project, has more in common with Ms Taylor than a way of doing your eyeliner. For its duration, Badwan and his new musical flame Rachel Zeffira, a sumptuous Canadian soprano, act out clearly defined gender roles, vamping and swooning and storming and pouting in a deeply silly, smokily sexy, whirlwind romance of a record that's as back-and-forth and on-again, off- again as Burton and Taylor.

The eponymous beat-pop opener, camp to almost Carry On Cleopatra degree, brings to mind the 'pop star' scene from Bedazzled, Faris as mean, growling untouchable bad boy, on the road with "no reason to stay" as Zeffira go-go dances in the background, cooing "on the highway" in the girliest of simpers. 'The Best Person I Know' is saucer-eyed and mooning, staring dreamily out the window and scrawling 'I heart Faris' and 'Rachel Badwan' on its jotters in a lovestruck miasma of strings and layered sighs, while 'I'm Not Stupid' is fragile, failing feminity at its flimsiest, Zeffira wilting "I know I'm not the prettiest girl/I'm realistic... I can see she's better than me" over charmingly, brokenly gauche dance-lesson piano. An utter idiot would compare this unfavourably to the sort of Lucy Liu-meets-Lykke Li empowered and leather-clad ass-kicking persona that dominatrixes much female pop. A real person, male or female, would just shiver in recognition of how it feels to be this besotted and vulnerable.

Is our hero impressed with these devotions? Is he toss, ripping his leather jacket from the bed and hissing "I've never had trouble getting girls… Don't try to tell me you’re the only one / You're not anyone at all" over 'Face In The Crowd'’s moody twangs of Tornados guitar.

Zeffira rightly concludes she's on to a loser with the graceful ghost-calypso of 'Not A Friend', and 'Bandit', a cautionary tale from the spirited bordello girl in an old Western. And then, with a red right hand, Faris blasts in through the saloon doors with 'Sooner Or Later', a goth dirge that's the most Horrors thing on the album, black winds of guitar blowing dust devils and tumbleweeds in your face before stopping dead in the face of Faris’ dark threats: "You'll be hanging in the mirror of the moon". His voice is clearer, more confident ever before; his main band’s constant crate-digging love of the beat era, girl group grooves and Meek-style sonic experimentation can here take a back seat to a narrative he can really act up to.

Scraps, reconciliations, tender private kiss-scenes… but finally our beautiful thing must end, and Faris sings it to sleep with the angel-sighing 'I Knew It Was Over', Zeffira's layered "oohs" a cloud-cushion to his sad Roy Orbison reflections. It couldn't last forever for Liz and Richard, for Faris and Rachel, for us, but damn, we burned the flame bright before those eyes batted shut forever, didn't we? Now, roll those end credits...

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.

Apr 7, 2011 1:36pm

So it is any good?

Reply to this Admin

Apr 7, 2011 5:37pm

kind of a weird review but it made me listen to their album sampler on YouTube which then made me want to go out and buy it tomorrow. So i guess that's a thank you.

Reply to this Admin

Isobel George
Apr 8, 2011 9:37am

There are few types of people in the already quite dismal world of online commenters more wearying than those who post 'so is it any good?' after a review. They're the same breed who clap and cheer when someone breaks a bit of crockery, or chirrup "oh, here come trouble" when you walk into a room. Cunts, namely.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 8, 2011 1:07pm

5onthe5 - I'd say that's an 8/10. Happy now?

Reply to this Admin

Apr 8, 2011 3:36pm

In reply to Isobel George:

I was joking; it was meant to be an ironic comment on what I perceived as the rather poetic nature of the review. Maybe my joke failed, but calling me a cunt seems a little excessive.

I also was led by this review into a pre-order of the album, thanks.

Reply to this Admin

Apr 10, 2011 11:37am

In reply to Isobel George:

I kind of liked your review until I saw your snotty, pompous and unnecessary reply to the first commenter. Pull your head out of your fucking intestines, 'trouble'.

Reply to this Admin

I Hate You
Apr 12, 2011 5:02pm

why didn't you give this A BAD REVIEW

Reply to this Admin

Apr 16, 2011 1:55am

In reply to Isobel George:

Nothing like abusing your own valued reader behind the anonymity of the keyboard. Especially given that your review appraises Elizabeth Taylor's more than the actual fucking music.

Reply to this Admin

Lorena Fernandez
Apr 17, 2011 12:23am

jesus, what a review.
just that, kind of weird..elizabeth taylor, rachel..anyway, a review isn't it? i just didn't get it properly. maybe i should start reading more british reviews or something, wow..

Reply to this Admin

Apr 18, 2011 4:25am

Ouch, scolded by the writer! Now that's what I call an interactive website. This is a great website, and this is an interesting review, which is why I peruse the Quietus as often as possible. I'll just never admit if I don't "get" what you all are serving up. Me thinks I'll be visited in the wee hours by Joey and Mickey of your "Public Relations" staff.

Reply to this Admin

May 30, 2011 10:21pm

In reply to Isobel George:

You should be put down. Awful woman. I'd put money on it you've got excessive hair, moustache, slight beard or sideburns perhaps? Not just because you sound like a disgusting female human being but because your aggression is male. Your stupid name sounds like something a trans would make up, Isobel George, the third in the rubbish Victorian quadrilogy. Maybe not and you are a real ugly woman. Still makes sense; Pretentious parents give daughter shit name and false self belief that she has got anything of worth to say. You lot are already an in joke for anything that is shit. Noticed the comments have tailed off? Not the recession, you and Doran and all the other cunts are wankers. Own up and, not fuck off because it's funny to read your stupid text, but, actually just carry on! Carry on! Know that your opinions mean the oppisite of what people who actually like music think. The quietus is hilarious. Cheers.

Reply to this Admin

Oct 14, 2011 2:50am

cheap juicy couture

Very favorable

juicy necklace

Cheap necklace Online

Frey Wille Bracelet

Don't miss the chance it's very good

burberry bags

good and cheap

tiffany necklace

Nice and cheap online

discount juicy couture

Very trendy

Louis Vuitton Wallets

the trend of fashion

wholesale juicy couture

Opportunity not to be missed

gucci wallets

Very good things will move to see

juicy braclet

Well-Designed Bracelet

juicy couture bags

Clothes very good-looking

Frey Wille Earrings

A good thing to look at like

coach wallets

Very satisfied

dooney bourke bags

Handbags Online

tiffany braclet

Wholesale Designer Bracelet

juicy couture outlet

For Cheap

juicy earrings

Price material benefit

Prada bags

Fast to buy

juicy couture

It seems all right

tiffany earrings

cheap and fine

D&G bags

Designer High quality.

Frey Wille Rings

Economy and economical

tiffany rings

This brand is very good

jimmy choo bags

excellent quality

juicy couture online

On Sale.

Louis Vuitton bags


juicy handbags

for sale fashion designed.

coach bags

Designer it

cheap juicy bags

Wholesale bags Online.

Frey Wille Jewelry

That quality is the most important believe this one

lacoste bags

attractive and reasonable price

Coach Wallets

Nice,good-looking and fashion.

hermes rings

online wholesale.

versace bags

The wholesale price, very substantial.

discount juicy bags

well-quality bags

Frey Wille Necklace

don't miss the chance.

wholesale juicy bags

Very good price

cheap bracelet

good brand and cheap

Frey Wille

good and a nice surprise

Cheap Frey Wille

high quality wholesale for cheap.

thomas wylde bags

Fashion brand, very applicable

Reply to this Admin