Nightmare and the Cat Simple

Simple (ˈsimpəl) adjective defined as “easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty” or “composed of a single element; not compound.”

Now with that title one could easily believe that the London/LA band who claims influence from “A vicar in a tutu…” is anything other than a melodic assembly of precision instrumentals and often dreamy vocals. But if there has ever been a misnomer, it is the latest release by Nightmare and the Cat.

Brothers Samuel and Django Stewart (sons of Dave Steward [The Tourists, Eurythmics, Stevie Nicks] and Siobhan Fahey [founding member of Bananarama]) truly were destined to become a part of the musical transcript. Combining their universally ordained direction with Claire Acey (backing vocals, guitar), Scott Henson (bass) and Spike Phillips (drums), they are moving out of the EP realm and into the full-length release for the first time.

The wall-of-sound, eleven-track Simple (Capitol Records) is a tidal wave of a release which knocks you on your ass from the beginning; right when you’d least expected it, and then flows in and out of aggressive experimental/alt-pop and infectious melodies you cannot resist. From the instant summer soundtrack sound of “Undercover” to the haunting sense of “Traditions” on down to the rolling southern inspired McCartney-esc “Alvarado” this quintet step up to the proverbial microphone with unshakable confidence and a sound to back it up. And then there is the title track. Someone should at least have the courtesy to tell Mr. Matthew Bellamy that something may be missing from his songbook. The dynamic, richly vibrant opener had me at “Time To/put priorities in order/as we dance across the border/of what is love and what is madness” and refused to let go. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the release and ultimately cannot pin it down to anything other than a refreshing venture that struck just when it was needed most.

In an industry that can really be all about who you know, Nightmare and the Cat are passing on the easy avenues. Instead they are standing firmly on their own talent. With a calling from the earliest of age, the Stewarts and crew are perhaps composed of a single element. After all, their release is easily understood and feels not difficult at all. Their tight sound is not as simple as it appears and the record can show you just that, if you look close enough. But it is that element that makes them something amazing: the ability to take something so abundantly dynamic, with all of its layers and components, and make it seem so Simple.

GregGreg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. He approves this message. He wrote it.