The Bandcamp bio of Hamburg based duo The Catherines describe their sound as…
The above definition was certainly adroit for the intiial self titled album. Here the noise / fuzz was prevalent amid the jangled strains and multi guitar effects. Then the second/third albums, Cheers and This Is Good, saw them move increasingly towards a greater proliferance of the more melodic pop sound and laid the foundation for the brilliance of Bingo!, which now buries The Catherines flagpole deep in pop’s most luscious arrangements.
It’s ‘almost’ sunshine pop in texture. However, Heiko Schneider / Sandra Ost cannot just leave it at that. They simply have to give it their inimitable take by slathering it in the typically effortless ‘cool’ that has always been the effortless conduit of all their releases.
Essentially, the album thrives on two essences. Initially the sunshine pop is stripped back accentuating an almost lo-fi level of subdued and a C86 level of lark. The production bells and whistles, seen in parts of previous releases, are reduced and the noise/fuzz is nothing more than a faint, but unifying suggestion to the overall aesthetic.
Therefore tracks such as You Always Take More Than You Give, How Can I Conquer My Temptation, ‘Ill Drift Into The Night (see below) and Two Is A Party But One Is Okay, belie their expansive titles, to provide simple 60s jangled melodies, within which the modernity of indie cool is added and thrives.
However, it is Why Is It That You Don’t Love Me (see below), Two Is A Party But One Is Okay and Bingo! – You Say You’re The Fool that represents the best of this release. Here The Catherines course all manner of 70’s pop retro into their own inimitable stylistic that is fostered on a cloying sense of schmaltzy and liberal dosages of kitsch.
Normally the association of these words would culminate in some sort of The Divine Comedy reference. However, somehow, The Catherines avoid such pastiche and just re-engineer all things 70’s in the most amenable manner possible. Imagine the music that accompanies those James Bond / Roger Moore yacht based love scenes that feature ladies in white bikinis, add an indie-pop twist and somehow you have arrived somewhere near the perfect ‘retro twee’ of these tracks.
This may be the The Catherines at their most commercial yet. However, they are still a million miles from any semblance of normality and long may that continue.