International Velvet - Catatonia

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International Velvet - Catatonia

Rock & Pop - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Blanco y Negro Records, Beggars Banquet - Distributor: PIAS UK/Arvato Services - Released: 02/02/1998 ...

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95% positive

8 reviews from the community

Review of "International Velvet - Catatonia"

published 21/09/2001 | Bryn_Pearson
Member since : 21/05/2001
Reviews : 417
Members who trust : 42
About me :
Pro Lyrics you can keep listening to and thinking about
Cons not easy to sing along with.
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
How does it compare to the artist's other releases

"Strange Glue"

I'm listening to "International velvet" as I type this. it's a good album, I've been playing at lot lately - despite having some quite depressing lyrics, the cd has the effect of being quite cheering - probably due to the happy tunes. Even listening closely to the words doesn't seem to bring me down....

This is the 1988 album that launched Catatonia to fame. At the time, I suspected this was because the X files were very much in vogue, and everyone was curious about a song called "Mulder and Scully." I soon put my cynicism aside, because it's a great album. Lots of clean guitar sounds - not too much in the way of over processed effects (which I hate) and some very strong singing from Cerys. (Is that how you spell it?) The album has the pleasing sound of a band who can just sit down in a recording studio and record what they do live, without vast acres of digital effects.

The music is, I gather definded as Indie - this usually means "we don't really know what it is so we'll call it indie". It's not mainstream, the songwriting is far to strong for the usual chart pap. It could appeal to anyone who likes intelligent music. It could appeal to quite a few people who don't.

An overview of the tracks then.

"Mulder and Scully" catchy tune, about falling for someone despite not wanting to "I'd rather stay single and thin" Not too prfound, but entirely memorable.

Game On - I find I only ever hear about half the lyrics for this song, and having just read them, I'm surprised to find there's a lot more than I thought. I hear "I could never fall from grace, I'm much to clever". I think the rest of the lyrics wuld stand a fair amount of contemplation. I'm inclined to say it could be about drugs, but I would be reading that in.

"I am the mob." somewhat irreverant, "I put horse's heads in people's beds cause I am the mob." lots of Godfather references - none to subtle, an energetic song. Cerys sings this one like it's some sort of seduction - a strange blend of sex and violence.

"Road Rage." - this one was a single. It has a hugely catchy tune that's nigh on impossible to sing. It's a good tune to put on if you have a bit of inner rage yourself.

"Johnny Come Lately." Ostensibly a song about talking to a gardener, but it won't take much listening to give you the impression that there's something metaphorical going on here. Quite a moody and melancholy song.

"Goldfish and Paracetamol." to be honest, the more I listen to this song, the less sure I am of what to make of it. There are definitely some suicidal references, but whether or not this has anything to do with the also mentioned embriodery and crotchet, I don't know (although it seems reasonably enough :-) )

"International Velvet." The verses are in Welsh, and much as I would like to speak the language, I don't and as a result don't have any idea what this song is about. Singing in Welsh is very unusual in popular music, and not all that common anywhere else, so this is something of a novelty.

"Why I can't stand one night stands." Depsite having very few lyrics, this is an intense and very revealling piece with some excellent lines "lust is the thief who crept away while we were sleeping." I wonder if these people spent their formative years listening to Leonard Cohen?

"Part of the Furniture." This is a dinky little song - the sort you can find you've heard but not really listened to. Its not one of the better tracks because its far too easy to ignore.

"Don't need the sunshine." I like this one a lot. Lively tune, and fascinating lyrics mostly talking about sunlight and seasons, but with suggestion of an emotional content.

"Strange Glue." another short and very intense piece., into which it is possible to read all sorts of things. Better to listen to the words and find your own sense in it rather than listening to what I have to say.

"My selfish gene" - a song about being betrayed by someone who you thought cared. Filled with venom and sung with real feeling. Mostly just voice and piano, this is a very moody piece, you can imagine it being sung in some smokey club - it has something of an old jazz club sound, and it stands out musically as being particularly excellent.

I think what I like most about Catatonia is their ability to draw on familair references and turn them into something new - road rage, selfish genes, Johnny come lately - these are all familiar, but the songs, rather than drawing on cliche, reinvent the familiar and come up with something new. The word play fascinates me, the tunes are memorable (if hard to sing along with.) and the quality of performance is very high.

I missed a chance to see these people a few years ago and have never really forgiven myself.

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Comments on this review

  • fabfrog5 published 15/02/2006
    a good review! i love this album! just read the sleeve - no luck translating im afraid! :( x
  • sidneyb79 published 20/05/2005
    An enlightening review, I have read and been puzzling over some of the lyrics since I bought the album, but I love it all the same. Sarah
  • Egdelwonk published 13/01/2005
    have their way beyond blue album and love the song 'bleed'...enjoy mulder scully and road rage but still theyre a bit poppy for me...but ill give it a whirl! (note the album isnt '88 as you stated...prob a typo meaning '98)...good op!
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Product Information : International Velvet - Catatonia

Manufacturer's product description

Rock & Pop - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: Blanco y Negro Records, Beggars Banquet - Distributor: PIAS UK/Arvato Services - Released: 02/02/1998 - 639842083423

Product Details

EAN: 639842083423


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