Alpha Cat – ‘Venus Smile... Retrograde’

  • 2 min read

When we last heard from Alpha Cat, it was the immersive solo project of Elizabeth McCullough, a photographer who had begun stitching together songs on her own. As a solo artist, she had released the seminal ‘Thatched Roof Glass House’, a neat collection of seven original songs that trod a deft folk-rock path. Less than a year later and Elizabeth is back on our radar, showing a new EP and some bold changes to the project.

After meeting up with some old acquaintances, Elizabeth took the step of transforming her solo project into a fully-fledged band, creating an impressive roster of musicians that includes guitarist Doug Pettibone, bassist Reggie McBride, drummer Jason Harrison Smith, percussionist Manuel Quintana, Jane Scarpantoni on cello, and Murphy Bug on backing vocals and additional guitar and bass. Together, the talented seven-piece have redefined the project, bringing a flurry of new influences, inspirations, and creativity to the new EP, ‘Venus Smile… Retrograde’.

Through six original tracks, Elizabeth and her ensemble deliver a defining musical release, putting a new spin on some classic 90s alt-rock to create something truly timeless. Combining nonchalant vocals that brim with confidence, with accents of reverb, a sharp Americana and stoner rock feel, and catchy, melodic riffs that punch through each track, the EP is an emotive and earnest exploration of a broken heart.

Through six original tracks, Elizabeth and her ensemble deliver a defining musical release, putting a new spin on some classic 90s alt-rock to create something truly timeless. Combining nonchalant vocals that brim with confidence, with accents of reverb, a sharp Americana and stoner rock feel, and catchy, melodic riffs that punch through each track, the EP is an emotive and earnest exploration of a broken heart. Highlights abound in songs like ‘Venus Smile Rx’, which opens the EP with a luscious alt-pop edge, along with ‘Orbit Rx’ and ‘All in Your Head Rx‘, which close the release with some brilliant psychedelic textures.

Speaking about the EP, Alpha Cat shares, “This record addresses the divisions in society and asks for them to be healed by addressing our commonalities. It’s a hopeful resolution and reconnection to a world that has become too divided, too extreme.”

The overwhelming theme of Alpha Cat’s ‘Venus Smile... Retrograde’ is about how it is a broken heart that shows you what you’re made of. It is a reflection of Elizabeth’s observations of the world and the idea that it has become too divided and too extreme. There’s a spark of hope throughout, however, with the songs rallying around a hopeful resolution and reconnection of these separations, and ultimately, hopefully, redemption.

At its core, ‘Venus Smile… Retrograde’ sees a newly built Alpha Cat delivering an alluring wash of alt-pop and alt-rock sounds, melded into expressive, infinitely enjoyable music that will have enraptured.

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