Say “The Cathode Ray”. Makes you think of television, right? Listen to The Cathode Ray. Kinda makes you think of Television, right? Right. And a whole lot more angsty late 70s guitar pop, besides.
Well, check the credentials….
Formed by ex-Josef K frontman Paul Haig and another highly-capable guitarist/vocalist, Jeremy Thoms, The Cathode Ray are now fronted by Thoms alone, Haig having left to continue his solo career.
Haig’s influence is still felt. As well as guesting on vocals and guitar, he co-writes the majority of the material here, and tracks such as ‘Get A Way’ and ‘Slipping Away’ could nestle snugly into a top drawer Haig release.
In their own right, however, the Cathode Ray have delivered an assured debut, which displays the riches on offer when inventive imagination is harnessed to a tight framework.
Opener ‘Patience Is A Virtue’ sets out their store enticingly.
After an elongated entrance, like the Thin White Duke landing by helicopter in a Morricone-scored space western, Thoms’ vocals enter with a Magazine menace.
Throughout the album, Thoms displays a beguiling conspiratorial air, reaching its zenith on the sly ‘Creature of Habit’, which grooves on a thrilling ensemble performance.
This is what pedigree sounds like when it gets its plectrum dirty: loping disco riffs from ex-TV21/Bluebells bassist Neil Baldwin, the nimbly economical drumming of David Mack, and the fluid guitars of Thoms and the Scars’ Steve Fraser.
Harnessed to a crisp, translucent production sensibility, yet more highlights, such as super-catchy ex-single Train, and the anthemic no wave disco of ‘All My Highs’ dig in with the perfect ratio of passionate detachment to off-hand commitment.
The Cathode Ray? Well and truly switched on.