Catherine Market is a truly rich sounding record. Jonathan Byerley – also of Brooklyn’s Plates of Cake – has a voice so low in pitch and so rounded that it sounds slowed down. It’s oddly serene and suitably bass leaden for the psychedelic intro track A Theme for All of Us.
Byerley’s voice is the focus of the album. It seems heavy and aged as good whiskey, reminding us of Lou Reed. With a conversational and honest delivery, it’s easy to picture him telling the story on a sunny porch somewhere, especially on the reflective track I Still Pull the Silver.
The instrumental parts are understated, with the vibey, slap-dash quality of Rolling Stones records, playful like The Small Faces. The tracks are upbeat but soft, acoustic mostly, with some bluesy lead solos, tambourines, glockenspiels, and nicely subtle backing vocals. The brass section in Catherine in the Grass smacks of Love’s Forever Changes. It’s one really catchy track, with production that is rough cut, real and alive.
Catherine Market is not pioneering, which you may have gathered as we can’t reference anything less than 30 years old. But despite thick, specific influences and a truly old school attitude to arrangement and production, epitomised by the loose boogie blues-ing and oddly baseless tone of the bass, this album does not seem too derivative. It appears as heavy, durable and authentic as an old leather wallet. Both actively listenable and soporific, as interesting as it is comforting – We like!