One of the greatest tricks an artist can pull off is to produce an album of songs that channel such familiarity and easy accessibility that they sound like you have been listening to them for years. I’m not talking pastiche or nostalgia here, but songs that sit so comfortably with the listener that even from the first spin, feel like old friends, soundtracks to formative years, lost classics. Cat Canteri manages to achieve that with When We Were Young. When not being part of Melbourne alt-country outfit, The Stillsons, she can be found moonlighting at a solo career and the lush harmonies and lazy, sun-kissed warmth that she employs are nothing short of compelling.
Referencing folk revivalists, roots Americana, west coast pop and underground country bands, she blends these strands into music that is both fresh and timeless, rooted in past traditions yet with enough vitality to bring them bang up to date. And amongst the hazy, chilled vibe that runs through the record, she also proves that she can produce killer, pop aware hooks with obvious singles Haven’t Been Alive and the title track itself.
The icing on the cake has to be Canteri’s voice, crystal clear tones, emotive deliveries and a warmth that blend perfectly to produce a vocal that is not only perfect for the songs, but is wonderfully at odds with what most modern music has to offer. When We Were Young was originally released last year, which poses the big question – why didn’t the albums first outing turn Cat Canteri into a massive star?