Some girl bands just make music and are girls, some address head-on feminist issues, and some never let you forget for a second that they are GIRLS, and cute. Seattle’s The Catch dwell squarely in that third realm, one carved out and polished by the Go-Go’s, and with their debut album, get cool, they’re staking out hipswinging, eyelash-batting territory for themselves.
On the album opener, “Nothin’ But Time,” The Catch sound like poppier spiritual stepdaughters of Lydia Lunch, sassy and snarly and self-deprecating. From there, the sass devolves somewhat into too-sweet handclaps and cutesy relationship songs about waiting for a phone call, breakups, and the like. Not serious enough to be called love songs, mostly, but definitely relatable–you will catch yourself laughing at old memories while listening to this band, and by the closer, “Afterparty,” you’re ready to stumble home with the boy of your choice.
I like The Catch, but I like most of their influences better than the sum as they’ve put it together. The girly-girl noises and squeals were more effectively done by the riot grrrls like Bikini Kill and early Sleater-Kinney as counterpoints to their serious-as-death lyrics. They sound a lot like The Metric, but without the sleekly acerbic deadpan of that band’s singer, Emily Haines. On slower songs, such as “Old New Song,” singer Carly Nicklaus sounds like Bjork without the Icelandic lilt, an elfin pop queen whose voice hints at depths that the music doesn’t quite reach to yet–although “Nice,” with a slow keyboard trip and the lyrics “If you call me baby, would it complicate things?/If you said my name, would it take something away?” is heading that way, and is sexy as hell.
Bratty is probably the right word for this band, but luckily bratty suits girls far better than it does late-twenties boys. This is a band that would fit in well on the stereo in a hip salon (Urban Renewal, I’m talkin’ to you) or on a dance floor at a club crowded with hot girls in shaggy sideswept bangs and sparkly ballet flats.