A year ago, almost to the day, a very odd, different and wonderfully rewarding album landed on my desk. It seemed like it was the offspring of one parent that was the soundtrack to an early console game and the other the spirit of musical theatre. That album was Do It For The Story. The one that sits before me now is Mikey Muffins’ latest Hunting With Cats. And it is no less unique.
Hunting With Cats wanders the same sort of musical vibes from the seemingly frivolous to the deadly serious, from the light and fluffy to the earnest and poignant. Such a range is typified by the difference between tracks such as The Most Dangerous Game and Unhappy To Help. The former sounds like Pac-Man at a Jewish Wedding (and I mean that is the most complimentary of ways), the other the most heartfelt piece of indie-folk imaginable.
Wibbly Wobbly Danger Human is both upbeat and full of relatable meaning, but for the most part, the tracks err on the side of the understated, though always having something to say. Greener Grasses is simple, direct and reflective, a wonderfully effective voice and guitar ballad. Hell Is A Walmart is a 50’s doo-wop ballad waltz pastiche played to perfection. And Veritas Sans Vino is a sort of reminiscent of Randy Newman’s intelligent and insightful compositions.
Like the previous album, Hunting With Cats is like little that you will have heard of late. It seems to come from another time, from fringe genres, perhaps even from another world. But that is what music should do. It shouldn’t follow trends, satisfy fashion or tick boxes with listeners’ preconceived expectations. And it is safe to say that Mikey muffins and Hunting With Cats certainly don’t play that game.