The third album from Cat's Eyes, Treasure House, was recently released and does not disappoint, continuing their streak of inventive pop noir. Some are calling this their second album, but I see no reason to discount their stunning soundtrack to The Duke Of Burgundy as an album proper, as it was not only released under the band's name, but as The Quietus points out, "its influence [is] tangibly present on this new work".
One thing I really enjoy about this album is that it incorporates, and seamlessly blends, elements of all their releases since their self-titled album debuted in 2011, including Rachel Zeffira's solo album The Deserters. There is the soothing, serene beauty of that release, the girl group and garage rock influences from Cat's Eyes, and some of the more lush, complex and haunting sounds of The Duke Of Burgundy. They have the ability to make these potentially disparate styles work well together across the album or, even more deftly, in the same song. On the album's second single, 'Drag', all these elements converge beautifully.
The album also evolves their sound by adding more colours to their palette, or by rearranging those previously used to create new shades. The Duke Of Burgundy begins, after a short instrumental, with Rachel Zeffira singing its soft, pastoral title theme. On Treasure House, the opening title track starts things in a similar mood, but here it is Faris Badwan's voice, usually heard on their heavier and more ominous songs, that lulls us gently, but with a subtle foreboding, into darker waters.
Comparisons to Broadcast were thrown around a lot when Cats Eyes' debut came out, but I tend to think the similarities were overstated, as these things often are, and perhaps betrayed a lack of a closer reading of Broadcast's work by critics. The influence was undoubtedly there, but the resulting sound was quite different. But on Treasure House, at times they more blatantly tread the same sonic territory as Broadcast. 'Girl In The Room' seems like an overt tribute, its simple, sing-songy melody evoking Haha Sound songs like 'Ominous Cloud' or 'Winter Now', and Rachel's voice sounding very reminiscent of Broadcast's dearly missed singer Trish Keenan. Faris once said of Trish, "She had one of my favourite voices of all time and I would love to have written a song with her."