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Baker's Dozen

Parallel Worlds: Peter Strickland's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , June 3rd, 2014 13:03

On the occasion of the Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga director releasing Wasp Boutique, a collaboration between Art-Errorist and Zsolt Sőrés, on his record label, and with a new feature film on the way, he sits down with Colm McAuliffe to talk 13 formative favourites


Cat's Eyes - Cat's Eyes
To my ears, this is one of the great pop albums. There is only one track - 'Bandit' - that doesn't quite work for me, but the other nine are outright classics. I'm not crazy on that term 'classic', but I don't know how else to say it. They've somehow connected themselves to that Ronettes, Paris Sisters cloud and it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. There's plenty of The Carpenters in there as well, but nothing sounds like a pastiche. I love The Carpenters, but find them difficult to listen to knowing how tragically it all ended. I never got the whole irony thing about The Carpenters and thankfully Cat's Eyes avoid that route too. You listen to tracks like 'The Best Person I Know', 'I'm Not Stupid' and 'Not A Friend' and you're instantly transported into the realm of a lonely teenager, whether you were one or not. That's the power of great pop and it makes such basic hormonally-driven emotions seem like the most important thing in the world not just because of the lyrics, but also because of the arrangements, effects and most importantly, the sensibility. The vocals by Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira perfectly complement each other. That line by Faris, "I knew it was over. I didn't have to ask why", is heartbreaking even to a jaded forty-something like me. Their respective influences and backgrounds are superficially at odds with each other, but when all that coalesces on this album you wonder why the hell nobody else ever tried before.

'Sunshine Girls' and 'Love You Anyway' on the accompanying Broken Glass EP are also masterpieces. It's hard to pick favourite albums as they always change depending on my mood, but this is a favourite favourite.