Well, it’s been seven years of writing, promoting and ranting about bands we enjoy at this Shithole of a Website (TM) and to celebrate, this time around I thought I could talk about 30 Sheffield bands that struck a chord.
Why Sheffield? Because it’s where I finally decided to go solo with this writing stuff. I used to write before, but not too consistently, and Sloucher seemed like a good way to write about music, arts, games, films, books. Some ideas were kept, some were jettisoned (our poor webcomic – sniff.)
So, day #1 is for Cats:For:Peru, a band I think I might have an obsession with. Not only was their music seamless in their genre-crossing ways, but also, damn, were they fucking ace live or what? A band that slowly evolved away from guitar-based indie to become something else, something special. A beast too weird for this world, for this lonely and cold steel city, a band that found a great thing to say and did so for as long as they could.
I think another reason to really like them is because, well, Sloucher exists because of them. You see, I was covering a night at The Harley live (your Harley, not my Harley) and I handed in my review promptly. The editorial staff at Fuse liked it and printed it, but they removed all mentions of opening bands. It might have been to save space. It might have been a diss. Whatever the reason was, it did make me cross. So if “anger is an energy”, that moment was when fission was achieved and writing binge ensued.
I think the most productive years of Sloucher were 2009 to 2012, with the occasional burst from 2013 onwards…but that’s a rant for another day, dammit, we are talking about Cats:For:Peru!
How do you start with them? Indie? Dream Pop? Fashion rock? Grunge? Electronica? Songs could change and did. ‘Love in the lift’ changed moods faster than a manic roadrunner. ‘Manifesto’, that infectious bastard, mixed ukulele laments with an explosive chorus, managing to introduce politics and the folly of online discussions. Even at their most oblique, like the dream-like ‘Sleeping in tightropes’ or the nightmarish ‘Answers’, Cats:For:Peru had a good ear for memorable hooks.
Never a band of albums, their only full-length was actually a collection of singles, EPs and oddities, released on Repo Men‘s Denzil Watson own label, Phantom Records. A second EP, We had this problem last winter, was released in 2011 and it seemed like they nailed the sound they wanted. Like I mentioned, guitars were used sparingly and they created this metamorphic entity, not quite sure how to describe it. It wasn’t party music, it wasn’t sadcore music. And thank God it wasn’t another Arctic Monkeys wannabe band, the great scourge of Sheffield since 2005.
Two more singles came out, consisting of four songs. ‘Bien’, ‘Brothers’, ‘A million colours’ and ‘Run out of dog’ came and went. I think I have a soft spot for ‘Run out of dog’ as the band invited people to 2fly to stomp and clap. It was a fun experience, but somehow, it felt like it was an ending (an ascent?). And it was. After these singles came out, radio silence, and then, lights out. ‘Run out of dog’ is a proper goodbye, soulful and gritty. Roads fork out, the vegetation around us changes and the clouds of dust soar as we step on the pedal and drive away.
It was something else and so it was for as long as they held it together. As far as I know, the split was amicable and they all are gentle souls. A few of them started families, others started new musical ventures. Their legacy as Cats:For:Peru? A band that wasn’t afraid to experiment. A band that was never comfortable at doing one thing. The very definition of multitasking as a musical genre. They stopped when they wanted and it never got old, it never declined in quality. And that’s the best you can say about a band, really.
Tomorrow: dreamgaze, shoegaze…..beat combo?
Words: Sam J. Valdés López