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Catapilla (Changes)

Crank this to 9 of 11 - Editors' Pick

Released: 1972

Genre: Psychedelic Rock, Jazz

Sounds Like: Gong, King Crimson, Portishead

Abounding psych rock laced with haunting jazz melodies. This album is insanely original and flew way the fuck under the radar for some unknown reason.  Catapilla were a British band from the early 70's who had a vision that even they could not grasp at the time. They released only two albums and then packed it in. The band consisted of seven members of which Robert Clavert playing the alto and tenor sax absolutely steals the show. His creativity and complex arrangements are cause for great pause and attention.

We are far from sax aficionados but feel we have a responsibility to bounce his prowess of some expert to get down to brass tax. We will get back to you on that one. Lead singer, Anna Meek, is near bliss as her vocals are enhanced by very dark lyrics but can also be described as delicate and graceful. Guitarist, Graham Wilson, is not at the forefront, but his use of distortion and crisp sound provide some rock, funk and jazz fusion. He stays subtle but poignant throughout the album. What floors us more than anything about this album is that it was made in 1972, yet with the high-end production and visionary vocals, it could pass for a recent release. Anna Meeks vocals could easily be mistaken for something out of a modern trip-hop album or having heavily influenced the likes of PJ Harvey and Portishead.

Track Feedback:

1. Reflection (12:06) - Anna's creepy vocals emerge and slowly the sax bleeds in and this track just soars at about the one minute mark, you are hooked and this song just engulfs you. This song is one of the more sultry and steam songs we have ever heard. Pop this one on for your next romantic encounter.

2. Charing Cross (6:45) - What a descriptive and powerful track title.  Anna sounds like Tori Amos meets Beth Gibbons from Portishead. We feel like we need to get this over to them and let them share in this amazing obscure find. Need we remind you this is 1972. Galaxies ahead of their time. At about the halfway mark, the song twists into psycho-funkadelia heaven. Unexpected but god damn powerful and refreshing. The last two minutes kick into King Crimson territory, maybe they have heard of Catapilla?

3. Thank Christ For George (12:07) 'Thank Christ for George' is near perfection and perhaps the best of the four.  The sax and guitar interplay is absolutely jaw dropping during the first half. The funk and acid jazz flow is impeccable. Anna slides in with soaking wet sexiness with near orgasmic efforts. The last 2 minutes will give you goose bumps as Robert Calvert's technique and passion is near perfection.  Accompany his screeching tight chops with Anna Meek's anything but meek shrills and you have one hell of an ending.

4. It Could Only Happen To Me (6:45)- If you forced us at gunpoint to pick the weakest track on the album, I guess we would gravitate towards this one. There is a fleeting moment where the sax is almost too clear and pronounced. Tremendous production though for an early 70s album. Give this one a gander on your headphones it is sure to impress. The track is calming and a nice cooling period after the first three gems.

Final Thoughts:

Changes has set the bar very high for us, providing some of the most atmospheric and well thought out lofty arrangements we have ever heard... and yes their debut self-titled album is also very good, but we encourage you to grab this one first. So much more flavor and originality coupled with the fact that again, this was made in 1972 should prompt you to go out and add this one to your collection. This could be our find of the year. Man we love what we do!

Standout Tracks: Thank Christ For George, Charing Cross


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