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Catapilla - Catapilla CD (album) cover

CATAPILLA

Catapilla

 

Eclectic Prog

3.46 | 122 ratings

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mystic fred
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A small garden pest munching its way through the Apple of convention...?

The cover art on this album seems to symbolize the attitude of the band and their music - conventional music and establishment styles being nibbled away by brave unconventional music - commercially brave as this their debut and "Changes" which followed, even being released on Philips' own dizzy experimental record label Vertigo failed to reach a mass audience, both albums remain highly collectable rarities, though in latter years with the resurgence of interest in interesting unusual music brought on by mundane formulaeic pop fodder on offer through the media, record companies such as Akarma have capitalised on this interest and reissued some amazingly underrated albums from the archives, allowing us to enjoy these overlooked classics at last - some for the worse, but in Catapilla's case, much to the better! The attractive gatefold sleeve pictues a nibbled apple, leaving just the core on the reverse.

But down to the album, the music is far from mundane - much of it consists of hypnotic grooves and jams, the vocalist allowing the musicians a lot of space to improvise between verses. The first track "Naked Death" deals with a theme common on both albums, disenchantment with society and the environment in general ;

"With tasty, silent and naked hands, the breaking days ways their commerce, the routine grey face broke on fools we lay down bound to all these rules" and "Staying impotent, settling down, just means that death, comes fast around" ....you get the picture..? not exactly optimistic, but such pessimistic lyrics were common at the time, "Past dustbins filled with stray cartoons, garbage cans and rusty bins, the stream of life calls, we divide, the time and fear that we deny".

At over fifteen minutes the track features some nice guitar riffs and sax solos, the music is reminiscent of Colosseum in style, jam-like, and Anna Meek's wild vocals (comparisons with a posh Julie Driscoll could be valid here) are an acquired taste, but fit in with the music perfectly. There could be style comparisons made here with Curved Air who came some years later to great commercial success, proving much early seventies obscure music was very ahead of its time in my opinion. The next track, a short song called "Tumbleweed" is on the theme of a woman musing how her children could turn out;

"Cooking up a daydream about being somebody's auntie. Planning, living out of fantasies of having a child of your own. And if the child had his mother's eyes and his mother's nose, he's got the same dimpled smile as his grandad",

The vocals are more restrained on this simple song. "Promises" kicks into a Jazz/Rock groove, the song is about broken promises and disillusionment; "Promises you made to me, of freedom love and luxury, are now part of an history's back numbers. The liberties that you are taking Ensure that people's shaking, would eventually whip us from this slumber." Anna's voice is given full rein on this track as she screeches her way through those angry lyrics - sounds like my ex!

Side 2 brings us to the 24 minute "Embryonic Fusion", a rather grand title but is exactly that, it features some great moments. The piece is too structured to be a jam, and features some nice sax solos and wailing vocals from Anna, and characteristically dramatic lyrics;

" A thunderous cave crashed by lightning, its measure outmost wild. Under this fury, the rose has grown, a rose, so rich, so pure."

The track has various changes of tempo, from a swaying rhythm in the opening, punctuated by short sax and guitar solos, to a Jazz Rock beat throughout most of the piece which slows down to a slower tempo giving Anna's full range to improvise her oos and aahs between verses -

"Her rich perfume, in vitrum expansive royal to take, to take away his own bay billboard. It's a beast, come and take her honey, but please go away, away, to see, go away to see".

We then kick into a faster Chicago-style Jazz Rock groove and nice sax solos for the remainder of the album, and rounds off with a rousing finale, overall a very entertaining album and an interesting example of early seventies experimentation if not completely successful at the time, an excellent addition..!

mystic fred | 4/5 |

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