CatBearTree are a south-London threepiece made up of Zoe Konez (guitar), Claudia Mansaray (bass) and Sarah Smith (drums) who released their debut EP on Friday 2nd August, launching it through a multi-act bill at the Finsbury in Manor House, North London, up near my neck of the woods. They’ve been together since 2011, practising and perfecting things before self-releasing “Let’s Share Hearts” which is available through their website or itunes from Monday 5 August.
The EP contains six tracks and, while the emphasis is on a powerful, driven rock (with its roots in riot grrrl proudly on its sleeve), that’s not the whole story.
The strength of the drums/bass/guitar thrum under the chorus of “Blind” shouldn’t distract attention from the much more original and captivating multi-part-vocals. Plus, you can check out the video here:
“Masqueraders” is a bouncy, much more dance-able number that I am sure had them moving at the Finsbury. It has some quality bass playing through the verses and then again during the attractive bridge, decorated with subtle filigrees of guitar. The reality of relationships going up and down and needing attention and effort gets increasingly affirmative assertion in “Sleep Talk”.
But the best is saved for last: on the back of the capable “Firing Line” comes the full-throttle of “Crayons”. They throw down the gauntlet as the song opens declaring “you have to see me, to believe in me” and that sums up some of the essential fire of riot grrrl – the discovery and celebration of confidence and assurance. And the guitars, yes the guitars: so irresistible, such blistering pace.
At the moment they’re unsigned, but they’re already displaying plenty of passion, and songwriting and playing ability so, given the profile accorded to the likes of Savages (who have a lot more anger, but I think a little less tune), this might be a good time for CatBearTree to have come out of the practice room and into the limelight.