02 June 2019

CATFISH – ‘Burning Bridges’ (released 7th May 2019)

It is not often that you find yourself impatiently awaiting the arrival of an album that hasn’t even been made yet but in the case of CATFISH that has been my position for the last however many months.

From the time I spoke with the band at The Marrs Bar in Worcester last year I have longed for the moment to see if their new album BURNING BRIDGES would live up to expectation. Although they would not give too much away about it at the time, I got the sense that it was going to be ready when they decided rather than getting it out just to please their fans.

Well the wait is over. ‘Burning Bridges’ has arrived and I have the biggest smile on my face. It is an absolute delight. A veritable feast of powerful, sensitive, rocky, soulful and lyrically mature songs that are an assault on one’s musical senses in a great way.

The feast begins with Up In Smoke – a powerful song to kick off with, Matt Long’s passion filled vocal doing justice to lyrics portraying a desperate and tormenting theme. Matt Long’s voice is truly magnificent. The gut-wrenching raw emotion he is able to unleash makes my teeth rattle. It takes a lot of confidence to let go vocally in the way Matt does and this and other tracks benefit from it.

It is also a joy in the same album to hear, in contrast, a tender soulfulness that is clearly evident in Ghosts. A beautiful song handled beautifully by Matt’s father Paul. Excuse the pun but this track really does have a haunting quality about it. Another example of the deep well of creativity that CATFISH have at their disposal. The song writing throughout is so strong. Some people take the view that most Blues music is just lots of guitar solos and it all sounds the same. Well, you would be hard pushed to find such a broad range of styles punctuated with gutsy guitar riffs alongside emotionally charged and passionate musicianship – Exile being a great example of this and OMG what a tune it is.

I have to be honest, this reviewer has very quickly become a fan of this band. When I first heard the last album Broken Man I was blown away with its almost ‘proggy’ flavour. Whatever follows this I thought is going to have to be something pretty special.

And very special it is! This is an album that says confidently and clearly that CATFISH are not just another Blues/Rock outfit joining the party. They are a band committed to great songs, thoughtful lyrics, first-rate musicianship. This album is, for me, a bold statement about the band’s intention to not compromise when it comes to providing the listener with an album that cuts no corners.

I’d like to tell you which tracks are my favourite but I just can’t. It is an album that I never use the ‘skip track’ facility on because it never settles back into anywhere near mediocre. I have been fortunate to have seen this band LIVE on several occasions and I will say that the effort they all put into what they do is very clear for all to see.

I am very happy to say that this translates into their studio work and this Album is a testament to that. You would be doing yourselves a huge favour by buying it and experiencing it first hand. I for one cannot wait for the next chapter in this band’s story.

Keith Baldwin

ALBUM available from the CATFISH website – www.catfishbluesband.co.uk

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