Yeah, I’m Back (Song of the Day): Cats On Fire “A Few Empty Waves” and more

Posted on September 25, 2012


Cats on Fire,

First of all, a lovely song listened to on a gorgeous, sunny Monday morning walk to work.



So, work and all that. Maybe this? Or maybe this. Definitely this. But all these took me away from my lovely blog for quite a bit, didn’t they?




Quote of the Day:

Say would you explain this a second time
These dead birds on toothpicks tell me nothing

Ah, the perils of contemporary art! What else is new in Shanghai? I’ve started turning my heater on for half the night, alternating warm with cold air to create a toasty, Singaporean-friendly oxy-cocktail that fulfils my inner Goldilocks thermostat.

Tonight is actually the first night in which I have time to read and write something. I’m serious. I haven’t been watching, like, Korean dramas or somefink. (But I did watch the first season of Sherlock Holmes. Hits and misses, my dear Watson. Hits and misses.)

Today’s band is the ridiculously cute Cats on Fire. Yes! I celebrate being Back on Blog with my absolute favourite thing in the world, cats. Specifically, my Shanghai cat. (I still love you Singapore cats!)

Cats on Fire are, currently, Mattias Björkas on vocals, acoustic guitar, Ville Hopponen on backing vocals and electric guitar, Iiris Viljanen on backing vocals and keyboard, Kenneth Höglund on bass guitar, and Yrjö Ylijoki on drums. Finnish names! So cute. Seriously, the entire band also happens to look like a hipster teen dream.

Cats On Fire,

Which makes it pretty cool that Cats on Fire are quite – as lead singer Mattias Björkas puts it, “a socialist youth” [1]. “The Smell of An Artist” was from the 2007 album The Province Complains, but these political-minded, snarky-lipped, whiphand-witted, angel-faced boys are impressively prolific. Their latest album released this year, All Blackshirts to Me, has been lauded as being “impossibly, even better” [1] than previous albums. I can see that. “1914 and Beyond”, for example, is a brilliant example of clever songwriting and clean, arresting – almost jaunty – composition.



2nd Quote of the Day:

Greece, don’t pay your debts, don’t bother with the debts
Iceland go on and cover us in ashes

How prescient is it to compare the waves of xenophobia and anxiety unleashed by the current economic crisis with the political climate of 1914? Well who knows – but how many other indiepop groups do that?

Cats, you are indeed on fire.


[1] Neil Kulkarni, “Forget indie-stereotypes, Cats on Fire are just great”, Guardian Music Blog, 4 May 2012

[2] Bill Pearis, “Cats on Fire: Where Protest Meets Pop”, The L Magazine, 2 April 2012

[3] “Cats on Fire Interview”, Scared to Dance, 25 Dec 2010