Bos Taurus

Label
Release Date
Writer
In 2011 and early 2012 Fantasy Rainbow (aka Oliver Catt) released three EPs which were rich in dream-pop and showed great promise. The pinnacle of this fertile period was the Healthy Lung, Dirty Lung cassette which comprised a 15 minute song and a 12 minute song about an "eventful trip to France". It was a joy to behold, a kind of lo-fi epic journey which flitted between snails pace lullaby and C86 garage-pop in a perfectly confined package. People started to take notice, not only because Catt was but a mere 18 year old at the time many of the recordings were made. He decamped from Manchester to Nashville to record this debut album and the US influence couldn't be more apparent. Right from the outset there is much more clarity to both the vocals and the music, but there's also a major change in direction going on, the spirit of Galaxie 500 and early Primal Scream which bled into his early releases has all but evaporated, in favour of a tighter, refined sound more akin to American college rock (opener "Soda Scream" even has a hint of The Strokes thrown in). Catt has had the confidence to ditch most of his previously released material, and maybe he is now in a happier place, as that seems to be what's coming across in the music. "Condominium" is positively jaunty with a cool fuzz-box hook, a theme which continues throughout the album, even the greatest sceptic would have to admit that Fantasy Rainbow sure know how to distort things. And this is indeed a great gift. Strangely enough, when things return to more downbeat territory (e.g. "Ear Wax") it all sounds a bit dull around the edges where it once sounded fresh and exciting. The album is certainly a mixed bag, and perhaps doesn't flow quite as well as some of it's predecessors but Catt does hit the right combination on many occasions, and it's worth hanging in for. "Bread Biscuit" is angry and all the better for it, and is notably one of the few tracks where the vocals are back to their muddied and distorted norm. The highlight of Bos Taurus comes towards the end with "Or Comfort", a beautiful and evocative tale of youth and regret which hits the perfect highs of any of Catt's previous work. The line "I'll never see those kids again" seems to be tinged with sadness but also a has a sense of new horizons. So apart from a few indie-by-number misfires ("Porta", "Nothing But"), and despite the mish-mash nature of the set, there's enough here to welcome Fantasy Rainbow as a promising new act who'll hopefully find their voice and run with it.