Review Summary: A culmination of recollectionsMoments
is a very pleasant word, as well as the title of a very pleasant album. In spite of this, it is hardly an appropriate means of describing Catz ‘N Dogz’ latest record. It’s not as much merely an assemblage of snapshots as it is a fully rounded product; a complete experience as a result of the culmination of such singular ‘moments’. The Polish duo spends the entirety of the album crafting a brand of contemplative house music that manages to captivate, in spite of its relative simplicity and pleasantly calm aura all throughout.
There is a certain level of fluidity to Moments
, partially responsible for this relaxed nature of the record. On the one hand, clean, washed out synths form the backbone of Catz ‘N Dogz’ sound, gently gliding on top of pleasantly mellow beats. On the other hand, while each song contains its own unique elements, everything runs together incredibly smoothly. Album highlight ‘Life’, for example, feels extremely clean-cut through its use of a deformed vocal sample, yet does not fall victim to sterility as a result of a compelling pace and the jazzy influences sprinkled throughout the track. It’s a pleasant enough track to admire its delicate flow from a distance, but contains enough intriguing components to dig into and appreciate to an extent beyond that.
Seemingly acknowledging the strength of such subtle layers, Moments
is the duo’s most gentle record, only occasionally relying on vocal chops from collaborators. The track ‘Sunrise’ does benefit a significant amount from such contributions, utilising James Yuill’s voice to create a catchy, appropriately soothing opener for the album. His vocals often function as an extension of the instrumentals, with Catz ‘N Dogz eventually abstracting and sampling one of his short, seemingly insignificant wails into a surprisingly effective hook. This less-is-more approach is employed again on ‘Sleep’ and ‘Time’, showcasing the producers’ sheer talent for capturing an expansively dynamic mood by taking short snippets of sound and subsequently manipulating them into calming oblivion.
As a slightly more negative result of this, however, the songs ‘Meditate’ and ‘It’s Ok’ feel rather out of place. Both cuts are unnecessarily cheesy, emphasising vocal hooks rather than allowing the excellent instrumentals space to breathe and carry the weight. Especially the latter’s bells and (literal) whistles are rather grating, with the repeated lyric of ‘It’s okay to be sad
’ making the track even more of a head-scratcher. Thankfully, these are the only real low points to be found on Moments
, with the rest of the record effortlessly maintaining a high level of quality.
The middle section displays Catz ‘N Dogz’ strengths most eloquently, as ‘Listen’ and ‘Love’ implement the duo’s jazz sensibilities to a greater extent than elsewhere, before ‘Memories’ provides a welcome punch by being the album’s grooviest, most driving cut. By being equal parts subdued and explicitly dynamic, Moments
succeeds through its weaving of a fluid web of sound; every aspect plays an equally important part in establishing the record’s atmosphere, while only working in its very specific context. As such, the album is as much able to be enjoyed as pleasant background music as it is a collection of songs that can be explored over a longer period of time.