Nightmare & The Cat are a superb find; a blend with a rough and ready indie drive, a blues edge, and still the sensitivity of a relatively recently (2010) formed musical package. 'Sarah Beth', the opening track to their EP, initially sounds beautiful, Buckley-esque vocals over gentle bluesy picked guitar together string backings before driving drums and guitar rhythms kick in to push the track forward with that edgy, rough and ready-ness that they host so well. From then on, the track crashes into an upbeat and catchy blues-folk chorus; all the time Nightmare & The Cat maintain this danceable driving rhythm over which the strong vocals soar.
'The Missing Year' further showcases the Stewart brothers' powerful flexible vocals, again within a sensitive, perfectly constructed musical blend; an easy going rhythm complete with brief interceptions of solo guitar, but a blend that also pushes into a catchy and danceable accompaniment to a chorused vocal outro. 'Forgive Me, Sonny' opens with bluesy acoustic guitar and clicks with backing vocals a formula that continues to evolve an angsty, uneasy feeling as the track goes on. As brass and chorused backing vocals aid in building the track, Nightmare & The Cat offer a far bigger production akin to Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend, crescendoing to a climax with kazoos and all, before dying to a purely kazoo and click fade.
Nightmare & The Cat's perfect control of their sound is further evidenced with 'Little Poet' and 'Anybody's Bride'. The former, with gentle vocals over rumbling crunchy strummed guitar that then erupts to give way to their blues attitude and edge which makes for a much thicker layered texture offering great contrast between verse and chorus, meanwhile 'Anybody's Bride' is a faster stomp of a track right from the off with the accompaniment driving forward a forceful energy beneath a sung/spoken dialogue.
Think Cold War Kids with the ambition and control of Arcade Fire and soaring strong yet sensitive vocals reminiscent of Jeff Buckley; superb.