Cat’s Eyes: Treasure House


Cat’s Eyes create music shrouded in darkness, largely due to the solemn voices of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and soprano Rachel Zeffira. Treasure House follows the duo’s self-titled debut from 2011, and stylistically not much has changed. Cat’s Eyes’ signature chamber pop remains unchanged, with the sound still managing to be both dramatic and spellbinding.
The album exclusively laments relationships, with Badwan and Zeffira dividing vocal responsibilities as they home in on themes of regret and isolation. First track, Treasure House, is a cinematic opening enhanced by harp and string accompaniment. Badwan’s baritone sounds delicate as he sets the scene with a heightened sense of vulnerability. Drag has a light and cheerful melody but this doesn’t distract from the sinister lyrics that paint a portrait of an abusive relationship. Zeffira’s vocals shift from a near-whisper to a level of intensity that borders on uncomfortable.
Be Careful Where You Park Your Car is the most energetic track on the album, reminiscent of ‘60s girl groups with its layered vocals and steady clapping beat. Girl in the Room is plagued with regret and nostalgia, steadily building up to a string outro that transitions nicely into the organs of We’ll Be Waiting. Perhaps the best display of Badwan and Zeffira’s contrasting vocals, the song is defiant but relies heavily on string arrangements that at this point in the album feel quite exhaustive.
The album suffers from a considerable lull in the middle but picks up again in order to leave a favourable lasting impression. The track Names on the Mountains is a particularly refreshing change in tone. While the sound and lyrical themes on the album feel overdone, Treasure House has an undeniable depth that unlocks on repeated listens.