You might have known Rachel Zeffira as one half of Cat’s Eyes, the unjustly underrated ’60s-pop side project of Faris Badwan of The Horrors fame. Now the classically-trained Canadian multi-instrumentalist/singer is ready to venture on her own solo debut “The Deserters”, out this March in North America on Paper Bag Records. First single “Here On In” is ethereal dream-pop lushly crafted, with a certain Gallic cool that recalls Air or Charlotte Gainsbourg. Her airy, bewitching vocals float weightlessly above a bed of strings, synths and spectral harmonies. It’s beautifully arranged nocturnal music for fans of shoegaze and retro-minded indie pop. Therefore, it makes total sense that she chose to cover My Bloody Valentine’s “To Here Knows When” for the flip side. Check out both tracks below, and keep a close watch for more to come. The owls are not what they seem.
STREAM: Rachel Zeffira – Here On In
STREAM: Rachel Zeffira – To Here Knows When (My Bloody Valentine Cover)
Cat’s Eyes is the new project of The Horrors‘ singer Faris Badwan and his girlfriend Rachel Zeffira. That I’m not really a fan of his band’s music (bar “Sea Within A Sea”) and the alarmingly witchhouse-like name and artwork made me rather cautious. It unexpectedly turned out to be one of the best albums I’ve heard this year. Musically, it’s ’60s-minded dream pop with psychedelic and orchestral flourishes, as well as touches of girl-group pop and bossa-nova. There are ethereal, gauzy vocals drenched in reverb, but not without a charming pop sensibility, and a sense of nostalgia and familiarity in the songs. In short, it’s a brilliant dream pop record. The album is cohesive, while also very diverse, like a collage of the music era they’re paying tribute to. Listening to it reminds me of when Alex Turner made his Scott Walker record with The Last Shadow Puppets, which I actually prefer to his Arctic Monkeys’ stuff. Both are clearly a labour of love, too good to be only one-off vanity projects. Cat’s Eyes’ debut album is a truly exquisite delight, and I expect it to be a real sleeper hit this year. Gotta love it when a release like this just came out of nowhere and took you by surprise.
Get a track called “Not A Friend” for free below, and stream the lovely ballad “Love You Anyway” (which sounds like a lost Carpenters track). The new single, “Face In The Crowd”, is pure Phil-Spector-esque goodness. Or just try the whole album, it’s a wonderful half hour.
Cat’s Eyes – Love You Anyway