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World Music CD Reviews Australia & Oceania

The Cat Empire

By Adam Menceles
Published June 6, 2008

So Many Nights
Velour Music Group

Hailing from the extremely multi-cultural city of Melbourne, Australia, The Cat Empire blends musical styles—pop, rock, soul, ska and even Afro-Cuban jazz—and spits them out at you like a skanking Cuban Rasta rapper. The band started out in 1999 as a trio (now doubled to a sextet), and since then they’ve exploded on an international level, expanding their fanbase with appearances on all the American late night shows, as well as playing the opening ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Thanks in large part to a hectic touring schedule, their live shows have taken on a tightly delivered but still party-like atmosphere—a vibe that’s often difficult for a band to recreate in the studio, but So Many Nights succeeds. Throwing upright bass, trumpet, drums, keyboards, turntables and timbales together in a funky and eclectic mix, the band’s fourth album is a gear-shifting collection of mellow moods, stories from the road, and endlessly upbeat dance tunes.