CATS are back! Circles Around the Sun will release their second instrumental project August 17, shorn from the pretense of set break music like their first album, Interludes for the Dead. The four-man fellowship is guitarist Neal Casal and keyboardist Adam MacDougall (bandmates in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood), bassist Dan Horne (Jonathan Wilson, Grateful Shred) and drummer Mark Levy (We Dream Dawn, Bonfire Dub).
The seven-track double album jumps right into the eight-minute “On My Mind” with comforting undertones CATS fans adore, but shedding the lethargic nap time vibes to reveal energizing velocity.
Chuck D of Public Enemy introduces the second track “One For Chuck,” after hearing CATS record at Castaway 7 Studios, digging their sound, and agreeing to make a cameo on the song. The ensuing low key dance groove offers effects with an uncanny likeness to cats meowing but still pleasantly tickles the ears. You don’t have to like cats to like CATS.
“Immovable Object” embarks on a sultry trajectory, followed by the near 20-minute “Halicarnassus,” which beckons the listener with another contagious progression, slowly darkening in tone, possibly dragging some listeners into the rabbit hole of their own consciousness without drowning in the abyss. The constant gentle beat is the life preserver that keeps the listener afloat. Casual references to the Beatles love song “Something” add a comforting familiarity.
“Tacoma Narrows” hits hard with soulful guitar, while the sprightly nature of “Electric Chair (Don’t Sit There) is accomplished with the addition of hand drums. “Ticket to Helix NGC 7293” (an actual nebula in our galaxy) rounds out the album with a feelgood beginning that over the course of 20 minutes devolves into a plasmic soundscape fit for a horror film. Gentle guitar breathes life back into the song to end the album on a high note.
The experience start to finish is satiating. When jams can be overwhelmingly heavy or too loose and disconnected, CATS swiftly navigate the sweet spot in between. They create songs that have just the right amount of weird to intrigue music junkies but still appeal to a wide audience.
Let it Wander is an album perfect for those looking to add more tunes to their chill party mix. The album title is a fitting name for the project which includes two near 20-minute tracks that truly allow space for the band to wander with their work, and for the listener to wander with them.
Catch CATS for one of their small hand full of tour dates while you can! Pre-order the album here!
August 22 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
August 23 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Bowl
August 24 – Ardmore, PA – Ardmore Music Hall
August 25 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
August 26 – Pine Plains, NY – Huichica Music Festival
Key Tracks: One For Chuck, Electric Chair (Don’t Sit There)