Sjef Oellers 10-Feb-2001 Overall

Catapilla were an English band from the early 70's who released two interesting albums of experimental jazz rock. The band had a line-up of six to seven people performing on saxophones, keyboards, bass, guitar, vocals, bass, and drums. The self-titled debut is quite an interesting album with quite an original, semi-heavy jazz rock style. The album consists of four tracks with extended, instrumental passages where guitar, saxophone, and keyboards get lots of solo space. Vocalist Anna Meek has a good voice, but obviously doesn't manage to keep her voice in control all the time. Some of her vocalizing sounds a bit strained and neurotic. I can not directly think of a suitable band to compare them with, but there are similarities to Colosseum or otherwise imagine an early, but more jazzy Van der Graaf Generator crossed with Soft Machine or Nucleus. The title of the great 25-minute track "Embryonic Fusion" gives an idea what to expect as well. The two shorter tracks are more akin to late 60's/early 70's brass rock. A promising first album.

The second album, Changes, shows a significant improvement. The vocals have improved and the compositions are more mature. Their sound is more ethereal and spacey, but still a terrific blend of jazz rock/brass rock with an occasional psychedelic edge. Sometimes they sound somewhat like Thirsty Moon or early Embryo (Rache) with Slapp Happy's Dagmar Krause on vocals. Unfortunately the band split up after this album and most of the band members disappeared from the music scene.

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