Self titling an album is a big move; it’s a band signifying that the album is their definitive sound and a true representation of their work. So, if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it right.

Returning with their third album, Pennsylvania-based trio Catatonic Suns are back with a self-titled album. A heavy sounding, the Verve-inspired blend of shoegaze places you right back into the 90’s and makes the album a great listen.

Beginning with ‘Deadzone’, you’re thrown right into the bands absolute wall of noise that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The trio introduce a sitar into the opening track that works in unison with lead singer Patrick Shields’ vocals, sparking the album’s psychedelic themes that run throughout the 8 tracks.  Describing themselves as having ‘swirling guitars and washed out vocals’, Catatonic Suns encapsulate this perfectly. Shields’ loose vocals are buried amongst his huge sounding guitar alongside Caleb Strobl’s heavy drums and Jakob Christman’s deep bass tones.

It’s hard to believe that the band is only a trio due to creating such a massive sound. Christman and Storbl keep the drums and bass quite simple and rhythmic throughout the album giving the guitar a platform to sing like a proper shoegaze album should.  Reminiscent of bands such as Ride, Slowdive and the Verve it’s a fantastic ode to the early albums that shaped the genre.

‘Be as One’ and ‘Failsafe’ where the two singles leading up to the release of the album, with ‘Failsafe’ being my pick as the best out of the eight tracks. It offers a more melodic sound and was closer to the trio’s previous work on their album ‘Saudade’.

Every song on the album comes to an ambient ending as the remaining guitar effects mellow out, and the feedback finishes screaming. It’s sort of a break in between such noisy songs that break up the album really well, but I feel the band could’ve done more with this. Listening to the album, the songs flow really well into each other due to their similar nature but I feel ‘Catatonic Suns’ missed a big opportunity to use this to their advantage by having some tracks transition into the next, but it’s a harsh criticism of such a great sounding album.

The band have recently signed to UK based Agitated Records, who they released their recent album through. Upon hearing the album, it took me by surprise to find out the trio were based in Pennsylvania as they take on such a British sound. After hearing the album I really hope with this new UK based connection, they can bring their music to the UK. Their sound almost feels nostalgic. Its like an album that has been plucked straight out of the 90’s making it a treat for fans of The Verve’s ‘A Storm in Heaven’ and My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’.

The album ends with an 8-minute slower track that finishes it really well. The guitar and bass mirror each other whilst a sitar and the vocals follow along. The song feels slightly different to the rest of the album, with Shield’s vocals taking on a harsher tone. It’s a long psychedelic track that encapsulates you for all 8 minutes, regularly slowing and mellowing before placing you back into the band’s distinctive sound. It’s a great ending to the album that just leaves you wanting more from the trio.

Like I said, if you’re going to do a self-titled album, you’ve got to do it right, and Catatonic Suns did just that and they did it fucking brilliantly.

Catatonic Suns: Catatonic Suns – Out 6th October 2023 (Agitated Records)

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