The actress-opera singer Stephens and former Poi Dog Pondering guitarist Sultan demonstrate a savvy appreciation for Kurt Weil's Weimar cabaret compositions.
Austin-based Mistress Stephanie and Her Melodic Cat is a goth-cabaret-punk duo, Stephanie Stephens and Adam Sultan. The actress-opera singer Stephens and former Poi Dog Pondering guitarist Sultan demonstrate a savvy appreciation for Kurt Weil's Weimar cabaret compositions. Stephens' strong soprano against the syncopated piano chords on several of the songs do send one back to the crackling recordings of the '30s. But their ironic winks about doing cabaret and their sprinklings of German references as well as actual phrases certainly separate them from straight imitators. Add that the Sultan's risible voice is sometimes a dead ringer for the Count from Sesame Street, and you've got something odd and funny, unless you hate cabaret. The album's music ranges from cabaret to '80s euro-synth disco to rock and punk. The compositions and lyrics require a lot of attention, and the result is entertaining. However, albums like this are often what you get after seeing the artists live, not the reverse. The album leaves the listener craving for the music's playful S&M embodiments.