Beans: Boots N Cats [Album Review]

Boots N Cats
Fuzz Club Records [2024]

Album Overview: At last, Beans has returned! Boots N Cats marks their third album, the follow-up to 2020’s All Together Now. Frontman Matt Blach, who also plays drums for the Murlocs, thought their third album should have a different approach to making music. Boots N Cats is an album built around the drums (hence the name). Blach says, “I’ve always wanted to make a drum-based album, dedicated to the beat first and then everything else follows.” It’s this concept that brings a fun, fuzzy, and funky balance to the album. Bean’s debut, Babble (2018), came at you at a more rapid pace, while Boots N Cats is all about the groove.

Musical Style: If their first album, Babble, drew comparisons to King Gizzard’s earlier catalog, then this album is Bean’s Gumboot Soup or Fishing for Fishies. Boots N Cats might even draw more of a comparison to Gizzard’s Sketches of Brunswick East, since both albums center around one idea to craft all the songs. This album continues psychedelic vibes with the bop mostly at the forefront.

Evolution of Sound: Beans tries something new with album construction and creation but also keeps the sound fans would expect. Being built on rhythm, the album’s beats show some nuances, which is nice. What else differs from any other Beans albums is that it was entirely written and recorded by Blach. However, the album grounds itself in psychedelic fuzz, synths, and the sounds we expect from a Flightless Records alum.

Artists with Similar Fire: This album takes cues from many well-known artists of the psychedelic genre. Being that Blach is the drummer for the Murlocs, then it should be no surprise that fellow Aussies King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are in the conversation. The synth and fuzz will remind fans of Tame Impala, Night Beats, Post Animal, and Pond. Blach really wanted to also steer the album in the direction of The Meters, Wu-Tang, and James Brown. Throughout the album, I also hear some funky touches from the likes of heavy-hitters, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.

Pivotal Tracks: “Groove” does exactly what it states as the guitar, bass, and circular keys mimic Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ “Heavy Roller.” The first instrumental on the album, “Kookaburra,” mixes Orb-like mystery with Post Animal keys. “Haunted” is easily a fun little riff that cues from early Pond and Tame Impala. My favorite instrumental on the album, “One to Four,” balances Zeppelin’s bouncy “Out on the Tiles” and “The Crunge” with an extra dash of Meters funk to really tie it all together. “Silhouette” drives a darker fuzz as Deep Purple-esque organs pulsate and bubble under Blach. While the drum is the prominent song creator/driver of the album, “Siamese Blundstone” punctuates something that the album had been telling us all along: the keys are also king!

Lyrical Strength: The album was never meant to be a deep lyrical powerhouse. Therefore, it doesn’t detract from the album in any way. Blach said that these songs are mostly based on a state of mind or place of consciousness. “Groove” is that dance-like-nobody’s-watching track. “Haunted” is the idea of being worried about trying and failing. “Calling” lurches and haunts with its lyrics that call back to a specific COVID time period. Being a lockdown album, Blach incorporated a lot of that into the writing process.

All Together Now (2020) / Babble (2018)

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Christopher Tahy
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