MARINA & THE KATS: DIFFERENT
This is modern indie swing from Vienna.
The band, which originally started out as a three-piece and has since grown into a quartet, has been one of the most exciting and thrilling bands in the country, if not Europe, for years. Anyone who has ever enjoyed one of their numerous shows, bursting with energy, will confirm this. No less than three of the four band members actively play drums. “Shared drums doesn’t make it easier,” the band themselves say about it, “but it makes it more powerful.” Because that is the Marina & The Kats trademark, a completely independent sound that mercilessly drives the songs forward and ensures that no one can escape the groove at the concerts.
The songs on the new album, which the gang around bandleaders Marina and Thomas recorded in the last few months, benefit from this in particular. For on the one hand, “Different”, the title of the new record, presents itself as rough, direct and wonderfully rowdy. On the other hand, the songs on the album are of course also a musical reflection of the last year. A rollercoaster ride that started promisingly with concerts in Israel, Germany and Austria, but then came to an abrupt halt. Just as the band itself saw its urge to go on stage curtailed from one moment to the next and suddenly had to come to terms with standstill and slowness where before there had been pure drive and enthusiasm.
Turned back onto themselves, what Marina & The Kats call “basic research” began. How can, how do we want to sound in 2021 and beyond? Do we allow ourselves the luxury of doing things differently? Just write music that we like and find out where that takes us? Will it be enough if only we like it? The result of this self-discovery process was recorded live by the band – in keeping with the cliché, “Different” features four thoroughbred musicians who respond to and react to each other, who – if it serves the song and the feeling it is supposed to convey – also forgive minor mistakes once in a while and uncompromisingly make music straight from the heart.
It is obvious that the title song is about being different. For Marina, it’s also about knowing who you are and who you want to be. And about the difficulty of going one’s own way without always listening to others. Pressure” also deals with an omnipresent phenomenon. While some bow to the pressure or break under it, Marina thrives on it. The tighter the deadline, the greater the pressure, the better and more alive. Marina herself calls deadlines her “shoulder to lean on”. Sorry” is all about how hard it can be to get the word “sorry” past your lips, while “Speak Softly” deals with the fact that those who shout the loudest are not necessarily automatically right. In times like these, this is of course a topic of the greatest topicality. And with “Just Like You”, Marina & The Kats take a bow to parents. To their own as well as to parents in general – whichever way you turn it: At the end of the day, we carry more of them in us than we want to admit.
With “Different”, Marina & The Kats once again prove their exceptional position in the Austrian music scene. It is an album to listen to, to dance to and to celebrate, just like the albums before. But at the same time it is more up-to-date than ever and more courageous than ever.
MARINA & THE KATS + Chamber Quartet:
M&TK have developed into one of the most exciting Austrian bands in recent years and have also established themselves not only in German-speaking countries but throughout Europe. They sound strong and idiosyncratic on their most recently released longplayer “Different”, the “Shared Drums” have not only become their trademark but have also taken centre stage and the band confidently calls their style Indie-Swing.
After a noisy 2021 tour has taken them through Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, there is room for the quieter sounds on this evening – which doesn’t immediately mean that it will be quiet, because it rarely remains that way at their concerts. A specially arranged programme for band and chamber quartet illuminates selected songs from the previous four albums from a completely new angle and gives them a new outfit.
Marina Zettl – Vocals, Drums
Thomas Mauerhofer – Guitars, Vocals
Peter Schönbauer – Bass, Bass Drum, Vocals
Harald Baumgartner – Drums, Vocals
Mihoko Ikezawe – Viola
Maiken Beer – Cello
Martin Harms – Flute
Gerald Selig – Bass clarinet