Nightmare and the Cat, the sons of '80s music stars, have a lot of unfair advantages working in their favor. But they also have this debut EP full of really good songs to justify those advantages.
Nightmare and the Cat have the sort of unfair advantages that make you want to hate them from the get-go. The band is led by guitarist Sam Stewart and his brother, singer Django Stewart, sons of The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart. Their lineage undoubtedly gave them the clout to get super-producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette, Aerosmith, No Doubt) to produce this debut EP. But then the band goes and justifies all their advantages by being really, really good. The five songs on this self-titled EP are all strong, with a lot of variety tied together by good songwriting. The band serves up their best track right off the bat, the catchy, rousing "Sarah Beth." It comes with a huge chorus backed by galloping drums that had me singing along before the song was over. The rest of the release holds up, too, from the laid-back, slinky, "The Missing Year" to the shambling acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies of "Forgive Me, Sonny" to the handclap-driven "Little Poet". The only time that Nightmare and the Cat don't hit a home run is on the punky final track "Anybody's Bride", but even that is still a solid double. Obviously it helps to have top-notch music industry people making this release sound excellent, but ultimately it's the songs that sell Nightmare and the Cat, not the production value.