Scandinavians are made of different stuff than us Americans. Cats on Fire singer Mattias Björkas looks like he was gene-spliced from equal parts Low-era David Bowie, James Dean, and Morrissey. His look was perfect, from the boots and perfectly rolled jeans to the ascot and perfectly jelled hair. I was sort of mesmerized by his hair, I'm not sure why.
on Fire's music is just as immaculate. A delicate -- though sometimes
speedy -- jangle with occasional country flourishes (and a love of
Motown), it's the perfect soundtrack for biking in the countryside, or
walking through the park. And you can dance to it... in an indie-pop
kind of way. It's hard not to bop along to rediculously catchy songs like "Draw in the Reins," "I am the White-Mantled King" and "Higher Grounds." I'm pretty sure this is the first Finnish band I've ever seen (here's hoping The Dø make it this way soon, though) and from this one experience and say that they don't quite have the command of the English language their Swedish neighbors do, and Björkas stage banter came off stilted and a bit cold. But the music was warm enough.
MP3: Cats On Fire - Higher Grounds (from The Province Complains...buy it)
This was Night Two of Popfest NYC, this time way the hell West at Don Hill's for a party co-sponsored by the party people at Mondo NYC. The late set time (1AM) didn't seem to phase anyone. The Pelle Carlberg autographed guitar made another appearance. If it was too late for you, word is Cats on Fire will be playing tomorrow at the Popfest closing BBQ at Union Pool. It's a great lineup, with The Cannanes, The Hermit Crabs, and lots more. Starts at 2pm.
I also shot video of their song "Mesmer and Reason":