Basics: Let's start with what Catfish Mustache isn't (thank God): Countrified rock, emo, pop-punk. What we do have -- in lieu of all those super fun genres -- is some funk rock with some hip-hop sprinkled in for good measure. Warning -- there are hints of ska, too, but the operative word here is "hints." Full-blown ska this is not (thank God again).
It's about damn time things got a little funky in here, though. YAFI has been funk-less for far too long. There's nothing wrong with making music that white people love to "dance" to, and Catfish Mustache paints a painfully vivid picture of Caucasians gettin' down.
Best Song: There's a reason Catfish Mustache chose to lead off Touch My Beer with the song "Ruckus" -- it's their best song. It perfectly displays lead vocalist Tania Warfield's vocal talents as well as just a taste of her white-lady rapping. Such is the funky dichotomy of the Mustache, as the kids are calling them -- Warfield's rapping more than often compliments the band's funk-driven melody. If the band wants to funkily done it down, they do so. Conversely, if they want to jazz things up and through some rhymes your way, they'll be coming -- with barely a moment's notice. The heavy bass line that kicks off the song is no mistake -- the funk is present from literally the album's first moments to its last.
Some Tidbits: Helping round out Tania Warfield's singing on certain songs is Sam Edwards. The two collaborate for some pretty easily uptempo, lively songs such as fourth track "Oh Yeah." On this particular song, however, Edwards raps "Similar to / Super Mario 2 / When I take the warp levels towards / And then I'm through." I would say that Super Mario Bros. 2 had its warp levels, per se, but no. 3 has perhaps the most infamous warp levels in the entire franchise -- ones that present the fastest, easiest way to beat the game. So yeah, I just nitpicked a Super Mario Bros. lyric -- but I'm a nerd like that.
As well, the two meet again for "Just A Taste," and the results are less than stellar. The song's melody is fine and all, but when Warfield and Edwards sing simultaneously, their vocals don't exactly match up and present an off-putting discord. To some this sounds endearing, I'm sure, but I found it to be a little off-putting.
Suggestions: If you're going to share the stage with some local Phoenix bands, then play with Black Carl. Tania Warfield's vocals match up rather nicely with Black Carl lead singer Emma Pew's. The two bands also have similar funk ideals. It just so happens that Catfish Mustache and Black Carl will be sharing the same stage tonight at The Sail Inn, so there you have it.
Catfish Mustache also sent a professional-looking CD with tracks that were recognized by Gracenote. Their Facebook page is constantly updated and even some of their music is freely available. These are all good things -- why have a band in the first place if you're not going to take the time to do the small things?
If you're a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to have your music reviewed in You Asked For It (our first-come, first-served and often harsh record review column) please send it in an envelope marked "YAFI" to:
Michael Lopez You Asked For It c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix , AZ 85034