Apparently Finnish indie-pop quintet Cats on Fire released an album this year and I missed it. Perhaps I should explain why this is odd - their compilation album Dealing in Antiques is still my go to record. I had been hoping there'd be some sort of release from them soon since I rediscovered them last year and thought I was paying pretty close attention. I was wrong, somehow earlier this year in my excitement about new records from Bowerbirds, Daniel Rossen, Kishi Bashi, and Lands & Peoples, Cats on Fire managed to send their third full length album All Blackshirts to Me out into the world with me being none the wiser.
What better way to fix my total cluelessness about an album than by starting at the beginning. A couple months ago Cats on Fire released a video for "After the Fact", the first single from All Blackshirts to Me and it's simple and maybe that's why I love it so much. Cats on Fire have always reminded me quite a bit of The Smiths and while "After the Fact" doesn't seek out to change that, it's far livelier than a Smiths track was apt to be. It's rather upbeat and sauntering but still invocative of all the reasons I fell in love with Cats on Fire in the first place - winding melodic structures, lyrical cohesiveness, and the oh so perfect way the band fit together like puzzle pieces. It's straightforward pop with just enough of a twist to make it interesting and utterly attention-consuming.