This EP harks back to the days of going to the prom, eyeing up the cheerleaders and avoiding getting your head flushed down the toilet and all to the soundtrack of frat-boy American pop punk. All very much the travails of growing up in the USA so it may surprise you that Catalyst are in fact from Dundalk. Formed only in January 2013, they have made short work of getting their first release out. Wearing their influences on their teenage sleeves, this short four-track EP is over before most post-rock songs are even half way to reaching their crescendo.
The brash opening track Easy On Me is a song with lyrics covering typical teenage dramas and a chorus melody that’s a dead ringer for Hole’s Celebrity Skin. It’s impossible to ignore the teenage nasally vocal style of Brandon Ryan on Rebound Kid, as it echoes the style of a young Billy Corgan. Rebound Kid begins with a mid-tempo chiming guitar line but the cookie cutter riffs in the chorus, in the vein of Sum 41, are lacking in distinction or bite.
The best track is 40% Valentine which offers a sprightly pogo energy in a teenage sugar rush fashion. The Others is more heavy-weight in terms of chorus and as it builds towards its conclusion it hints at ‘Blue Album’-era Weezer, in particular songs like Only In Dreams and In The Garage. It shows that there is an evolution forming on Catalyst’s song-writing and gives a glimpse of what they can be capable off.
While Catalyst are still finding their creative feet, what lets the EP down is the production which is muffled and murky. It feels more of a demo quality record rather than a polished release and doesn’t do their songs justice. It’s not surprising that the band being so young, in formation and age, have yet to find their own identity away from their influences. As a consequence it doesn’t particularly stand out as being especially memorable but time is on their side to make their mark.