Alpha Cat Returns: Thatched Roof Glass House
Alpha Cat is a project that comes from the troubled artistic world of Elizabeth McCullough. McCullough is a photographer from the East Side of New York City, who evolved her artistic vision into music. Obviously, the songs once examined reveal the depth of how deeply her art is affected by her psyche. On her latest release, Thatched Roof Glass House (distributed on the Aquamarine label), there is a constant barrage of contradictory images that leaves the listener uneasy, but still musically satisfied. She builds these constructs well. Guided by the able hands of working NYC music stalwarts, this is a rich complex and vibrant record, as evidenced by one of the highlights for me, the titular track, Thatched Roof Glass House. She laments “I didn’t want to write a song about you, I thought that somehow you would find the memory different”. It captures the quandary of any songwriter perfectly and sums up the leap of faith any writer has to make to get their feelings worked out in the wider world. This song is a cathartic experience for the A. Cat, done over a bouncing beat and new wave folk guitar lines. The emphasis of that fact comes with the sound of breaking glass at the end of the track. It is literally the sound of an artist breaking free of their own confines. Whether that metamorphosis that is represented by possessions or freedom is up to the listener to decide.
Another track, Black Hole, is an additional glimpse into the subtleties of inner disorientation. There are some fairly bleak images being poured out here, with redemption being provided with the lyrics like “…getting your feet wet can’t be all that bad”. Trying to wrestle the best out of other people is clearly an exhaustive process for Alpha Cat and she does her best to tell the story from her perspective. The sound washes over the listener and the overall production by the four listed producers/engineers on the album: Fred Smith, Jason Harrison Smith, Jon Mattox and Elizabeth McCullough, really allows the songs here to come to life. Ironically, the tunes here are also an aural example of an artist coming back to life on some level as well. After a bout with depression Alpha Cat wrestled her demons and turned them into art. That is why the songs and music and production dovetail so nicely into allowing the music to have the impact that it does. Hopefully, radio and press people should like this one as much as I do.