Colombian-born Alejandra Pedraza and American Christopher Orcutt make an intriguing duo. Infusing their punk music with Latin influences, their self-titled debut is primitive yet involving and inventive too.
In Pedraza, OceanCats have a very strong focal point. Rather like similarly dominant frontwomen such as Karen O, enjoyment of their material will depend largely on your tolerance of Pedraza’s vocals. On ‘Closer To Me’ in particular, Pedraza sometimes echoes the excitable attitude of Clare Grogan on those early, punky Altered Images singles. Songs can verge towards the simplistic – witness the duo “ooh ah”-ing through ‘One Hour Late’ – with Orcutt’s crisp drumming and Pedraza’s sludgy bass the other constants across the album.
Yet they can also be very distinctive. ‘Angel’ recalls the tribal rhythms of Siouxsie spin-off The Creatures and a couple of Spanish language songs add welcome colour and variety to proceedings. The six minutes of ‘Guns’ is arguably their crowning moment, though, with their intense post-punk concluded by some weird electronica.
OceanCats clearly pride themselves on their sound and take great pains to point out that the album was recorded on an analog tape machine. Yet it’s when they deviate from their chugging punk-rock formula that they really begin to stand out.
The Creatures, Altered Images