WE DON’T know who it is that figuratively and physically dons the mask of Catbells; but we do know that she is rather lovely.
Born and raised in New England, we know that the singer-songwriter was introduced to the piano aged 5; and that by seventh grade she was playing the guitar and writing songs about middle school heartbreak. She took the course that so many do, moving through a variety of bands, before deciding the purity of her solo vision was worth pursuing.
She describes herself as a “somewhat enigmatic, shy, wallflower type, named after the popular hiking spot recited in the famous children’s book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, by Beatrix Potter (it’s on the western shore of Derwentwater, in the Lake District).
That shyness, and the influence of the vastness of nature, informs her succulent dream pop; she often revisits her childhood in her music, reflecting on the changing seasons, lake-swimming, canoeing and working on the family farm.
You can delight in the animated video for her new single, “Fade – Rainy Day Demo” just below, in which she whispers a tribute to a lost love with candour and melodic, acoustic grace. Grief, longing, pain: all the sorrows of a lover who’s vanished are handled with a gentle touch.
“The song really wrote itself and the music needed to match the feeling of how the words felt,” Catbells says.
“There are a few people who are lucky enough to escape the feeling of a completely broken heart, and [the song examines] feeling like the person you loved so much just moved on like it was nothing, leaving you left there with a hole where your heart once was.”
The accompanying video features sad cat saying farewell on a starry evening. Hey: cute, but awww, sad, right?
With influences ranging from 60s’ singers such as Nico and Donovan to Mazzy Star, Catbells is one to watch. It could be a lovely journey.