Cat's Eyes Cat's Eyes

Cat's Eyes Cat's Eyes
As the gangly, spectral frontman for the Horrors, Faris Badwan has already proven his ability to reinvent himself. With 2009's Primary Colours, he and his bandmates broke free of their backlash-ridden rep as goth hellions to become masters of an expansive psychedelic domain. Now, with Vancouver, BC-based opera soprano Rachel Zeffira, Badwan's Cat's Eyes side-project sees him shifting gears once more. By introducing the classically trained Zeffira to the music of his heroes, like Phil Spector, Ennio Morricone and Joe Meek, Badwan has found himself an exquisite muse. As the UK press has heavily publicized, Badwan lets it slip that he doesn't have to brood 24/7, oozing out a Scott Walker croon on "Face in the Crowd" and a docile, Bacharach-esque duet like "The Lull" without a hint of hesitation. Badwan's arrangements also demonstrate that his range as a frontman is drastically underrated, skipping from straight-up girl group pop and arcane dirges to Vatican-approved baroque and a couple of songs that could easily pass for the late Broadcast with the utmost precision. But Zeffira's voice is the real show-stealer, exuding an air of elegiac magnificence and remarkable versatility to an exotic range she's probably foreign to. Cat's Eyes is a sweeping, sophisticated group of songs that doesn't feel like a side-project by any means. The rest of the Horrors should really start checking the classifieds, if they know what's good for them. (Cooperative/Universal)