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Cat Dog Bird: Headfirst Into the Riddle

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Self-funded independent musicians do it tough, but they do it with passion and they do it for the right reason – they enjoy making music. It’s as simple as that.

One such band is Adelaide’s Cat Dog Bird: Jen Lush, Andy Voigt and Sam Leske.

Their first full album, Headfirst into the Riddle, is a showcase of their collective talents. Singer Lush is credited with writing the lyrics for 10 of the 11 songs, and as co-writer of one song with multi-instrumentalist Andy Voigt, who also recorded and co-produced the album at his own Sound Farm Studios in Adelaide. Leske adds some tasteful guitar accompaniments and provides a solid foundation to support the vocals.

I like it when an album is difficult to categorise, and Headfirst into the Riddle is like this. From the very acoustic feel of the opening track “Wolf” to the rockier beat of “Begging For Change” and then “Tinseltown”, with its very country-style beat, Cat Dog Bird transitions easily across music genres.

Lush’s luscious (sorry) vocals are the glue on this recording. She has a clear, soft diction, which is augmented by her own harmonies on many of the songs to provide a rich vocal depth, defining the overall “sound” of the band.

I’m reluctant to nominate a stand-out track, partly because it’s very subjective but also because each time I listen to the album I discover more gems. However, I do particularly like the lyrics and melody of “Fall from the Front Line”.

Throughout the album, there’s a tasteful and thoughtful layering of instruments which provides the listener with an interesting musical landscape without, and this is the key, getting in the way of the lyrics. Nine local musicians contribute throughout the CD with an array of instruments including cellos, drums, bass, Hammond organ, electric and acoustic guitars and tuba.

South Australia is blessed with so many talented “indie” musicians, and with recording facilities being far more affordable and accessible these days, we are able to savour their music long after the live performance.

Buy the album, check out their website for local performances and help keep live music alive in South Australia.

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