"Big beat a cappella" is how this multiethnic Austin septet aptly describes itself, before moving on to clarify a little. "Like Stomp! meets Bobby McFerrin" and "Riverdance-Cappella" are but two alternate synopses of the all-male vocal troupe. This Cat purrs along through the modern soul/hip-hop/urban landscape on feet and hands of thunder and voices from heaven. As with McFerrin's recordings, one listens to Cat's eponymous debut with disbelief. How can all those sounds come from an a cappella group? On "In Your Eyes," the swelling, gruntlike choruses beneath the leads create textures much like South Africa's majestic Ladysmith Black Mambazo. On the intro to their take of "Day-O," the joined voices create a Daniel Lanois-like sonic wind effect. What one can only wonder at on CD (namely, just how they do what they do) will become apparent when the group is caught live.


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