The Cat Empire shows that Cuban-jazz has infiltrated the shores of Australia where the sextet hail from, and capable of the same level of proficiency to create aural merriment with the fire of a genuine Havana band’s fodder. The group’s debut album Two Shoes produced by Jerry Boys, Felix Riebl, and The Cat Empire is a shindig of Cuban cha-cha’s, hip-hop, and cool jazz elements from New Orleans style horns to Miami dance rhythms and vivacious Latin hullabaloos. The Cat Empire’s album is a cultural tapestry that takes influences from around the world. Sonically exciting and stimulating, the album berths jamband interactions and lively harmonies integrated into delightful celebrations.
The happy mood begins with the Cuban influenced jazz chantey "Sly," jostling hip-hop vocals, funky organ sentences, and dazzling horns. With congruent servings of Latin embossed rhythms and sashes of cool jazz passages, the album proceeds with vibrating dance tempos for "In My Pocket" and "Lullaby" accelerating and diffusing the momentum with mercurial chord shifts. The mixing of R&B, funk and jazz palettes on "The Car Song" vaunt exciting textures acquiescing the heady organ and horn riffs. The smooth jazz sonorous of "Two Shoes" conveys a bluesy nocturne with suave island beats. Conversely, "The Chariot" slates a taps style drum rotation in the intro, which then blends into the Cuban-curried progressions and grooms the stirring tempo shifts into a melodic continuum.
The salsa style keys are choreographed to the gyrating beats of "Sol y Sombra," and undulating horn blasts give the number a high-flying flame. The burlesque shimmy of "Protons, Neutrons & Electrons" is paired with cymbal splashes and sultry tambourine and bell chimes. The ska/funk slides on "Saltwater" are bouncy and fun while glittering a sunny island essence. The smooth jazz melody of "The Night That Never End" is set in a willowy tempo and lounging scat vocals concluding the album with a grotto of soft vibrations.
The Cat Empire’s disc shows excellent choreography integrating Cuban-jazz steps with hip hop/scat vocals. The music is bouncy, vibrant, and high-spirited taking influences from a number of Latin and dance cultures. The tempos are jovial and can make the gloomiest of listener’s feel like dancing.