Part of the joy of being the Post-Punk Monk is not only finding things you missed 40 years ago, but finding things you didn’t even have a clue about! Edinburgh threesome The Catburgers [Robert Jones – guitar, vocals, Stuart Macgregor – bass, Jeff Duffy – drums] were one such band. They had a blink-and-you-miss-it almost career where the best of intentions still managed to evade our scrutiny like a genie in bottle. In February of 1987 the trio made their way to London and recorded this session, intended for 7″ at the time, for Television Personalities Dan Treacy’s Dreamworld label. And then…crickets for 35 years. One thing leads to another, and like many of my own projects, things sadly fall by the wayside.
That’s no longer the case as the master tape has been baked and restored, and the three songs are now out there in the world and on DL and 7″ formats. Denmark’s Felt label has issued the EP a month ago and we now have the winsome songs of a Scottish indie band that could have conquered my world with their demure sound 35 years ago in the wake of Live Aid’s injection of bombast in to the UK pop scene. What are they like, you ask?
The Catburgers: Dreamworld Sessions – DMK – 7″/DL 
- Holiday House
- The Acid Tree
- Diving For The Brick
“Holiday House” was driven by Duffy’s rim hits as Jones’ gently jangling guitar and breathy, fey delivery would have had this joining Stephen Duffy’s Lilac Time on my nerve soothing playlist of the time. There was almost a touch of Donovan on Jones’ voice that my ancient ears perceived as the prosaic lyrics delighted in incisive but small novelistic detail as he imagined his ideal home-away-from-home for a link up with that special someone. A place where no two breakfasts were quite the same. Eventually harmonica drone added a languorous touch as the song retreated.
The band managed to split the difference between fiery and fey on the comparatively rousing cut “The Acid Tree,” which actually had motorik Krautrock beats put in service to the band’s vision. Producer Jowe Head of Television Personalities guested on this cut, but only vocally. The nimble bass was the work of Stuart Macgregor. The concluding “Diving For The Brick” managed to keep up the energy levels as it recounted the tale of trying to impress a girl with one’s swimming skills. Again, the eye for telling but subtle detail showed Jones as a writer of no small facility. I loved how the song piled on the details before touching my heart with the concluding chord change and the lyrics below.
The Catburgers managed to come on like the Edinburgh cousins to Talullah Gosh with a y-chromasome. Fortunately it’s better late than never and the songs are available in DL in your choice of file formats at Bandcamp. If hard copy’s your thing, the 7″ EP is still available and Boomkat has it for now at £11.99, but it probably won’t last forever. There was also a cassette of the band’s demos released concurrently with the single that was replicated and restored from Simon Reynolds‘ aged copy, but that’s already sold out at some online outlets. You can listen below, but act sooner than later if that 7″ or tape is calling you.
ROCKING HORSE DEMOS CASSETTE