Marina & The Kats (AT)

Fresh, innovative indie swing from Vienna. Originally a three-piece and now a quartet, Marina & The Kats has been one of the most exciting and trailblazing bands in Austria (if not Europe) for years, as anyone who has ever had the chance to catch one of their many high-octane shows will confirm.

No fewer than three of the four band members play drums. “Joint drum duties doesn’t make life easy,” the band admits, “but it makes for an immense listening experience” – and that’s the Marina & The Kats trademark: a totally independent sound that grabs the songs by the scruff of the neck and ensures that no one will be leaving the venue without their groove on.

Their new record “Different” is, on the one hand, as coarse as it is frank, infused with a reassuringly rough and ready swagger. It is also, understandably though, a musical reflection of the last years. A rollercoaster ride of a year that started promisingly with concerts in Israel, Germany and Austria, suddenly came to an abrupt halt. So too did the band as the ingrained drive and passion for the stage hit a metaphorical brick wall, leaving them to come to terms with the fact that life and making music had come to a complete standstill.

The upshot of this process of self-discovery was the decision to record live with no “safety net”. “Different” is simply four thoroughbred musicians responding and reacting to each other – as the old cliché goes! A snapshot of uncompromising music-making from the heart, leaving any little mistakes alone as long as the performance stays true to the song and the feeling it is meant to convey.