Written by Molly Boekenheide
Remember Bananarama? How about the Eurythmics? Well, the spawn (brothers Django and Samuel Stewart) of Bananarama’s Siobhan Fahey and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart are continuing in the family biz, and it’s a nightmare! Actually, their band is a nightmare…Nightmare and the Cat, and they have just released their first full-length album, Simple.
Simple is lyrically insightful, its musicality is symphonious and compositionally it’s fascinating. It’s no wonder the Stewart sons have stayed in the family biz, it’s in their DNA.
“Simple” kicks off the title track beginning with the basics. It offers an explanation of who their parents are, and then addresses comments that people have made regarding their subsequent fame. Django Stewart croons, “I have tried my best to keep away from the privilege in my father’s name, so who’s to blame for certain?” Well, now that THAT’s out of the way!
Following “Simple” is the catchy, “Desert Heir,” a track that marries conflicting, yet complimentary sounds, producing a satisfyingly eclectic fusion of sorts. The dramatic, exaggerated strumming sound of the tune’s verses bring indie darlings Cage the Elephant to mind, while the more dance-ready chorus seems to pay tribute to another indie favorite, Vampire Weekend. The contrast pays off as the flip-flopping sound keeps listeners on their toes.
“Goodbye So Many Times,” is a fuzz-dipped stand-out. Django tells a heartbreaking tale, “I’ve said goodbye so many times, the word has lost all meaning…but I won’t say it again, if you keep me here believing…” It’s Foxy Shazam meets a barbershop quartet: beautifully poignant and surreptitiously dramatic.
Nightmare and the Cat becomes re-energized with “Undercover,” a pop-infused, morally challenged, lover’s great escape down the coastline. “You came with him but I just didn’t care, you smiled and asked if I could keep a secret. You whispered in my ear, ‘Take me away from here,’ your words possessed me, you left a ghost in my heart”…so Django counters, “I’ve got a car if you wanna drive, take you all the way to the coastline…no one knows about you and I, so let’s keep this love undercover…” I will NOT! Seriously? This is the classic “it’s all about me” culture…but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t somehow come off as adorably charming. Go figure.
“Sarah Beth” sees Nightmare and the Cat round things off with a more folksy sound, complete with lush, wholesome instrumentals that will make the boys in Mumford and Sons green with envy. “Traditions” is a chill, sappy tune complete with a solid dose of psychedelia. The lyrics themselves are pure poetry: “You and I can lie in this English garden, come inside and you’ll wanna stay. Sleepin’ on silk, swallowed in the devil’s cashmere, just let the feelings take you away…”
“Blackbird Smile” is a bitter banger about being betrayed by the one you love, but simply not being able to resist them. Django seriously channels Brandon Flowers (of The Killers) as he wails, “It’s strange that fate should lead you to my door when I don’t want you here…Make no mistake you’re the one that I adore, still don’t want you here. My thoughts become your fears, I don’t want your tears, no…”
“X’s On Your Eyes” is an heartbreaking synth-heavy tune dealing with the death of a soulmate. Get ready for the waterworks as Django waxes lyrical about having to wake up alone: “Things around the room I see keep reminding me of you…can’t bring myself to leave this bed that I’ve only ever shared with you. I dream about the time of day I start to make my way to you…I’m waking up, the lights are down, I’m feelin’ round for you…”
“Mae” has an unmistakeable Lumineers feel to it, and speaks of the games that people play and the consequences of common miscommunications. “Alvarado” is clearly influenced by the southwest, and deals with the trials and tribulations of growing up too fast. You can’t help but sway as Django keens, “Oh desire, you have a really twisted sense of humor…to turn a saint into a sinner your lessons are so cruel…”
“Simple” wraps up with “Breaking Down The Walls,” a track with a harder, Muse-inspired vibe. Here, Django tells of knocking down barriers and defying expectations. “If you don’t know me by now, will you ever? If you don’t know me by now, do you even know me at all?” he cries, begging to be understood.
Okay Django, I’m feeling it. I think I know you! There is just one thing that I still need some clarification on: Nightmare and the Cat? Is there a back story that you would care to share? Regardless, your first album is a solid first collection; Nightmare is rad!