Album Review: “Like It Never Happened” by Elizabeth and the Catapult

Album Review: Like It Never Happened by Elizabeth and the Catapult

ALBUM_elizabethandthecatapult

Brooklyn-based, indie pop band shoots back onto the music scene with their third full-length offering

On the day of their latest album release concert, Elizabeth and the Catapult updated their Facebook page with the status, “To all who came out to my show on a snow day[,] …[t]hanks for giving a big ol’ middle finger to the weatherman.” Beyond social media, the Catapult is known for their sassy and delightfully irreverent attitude in their own music, established in their 2009 debut “Taller Children,” which poked fun at everything from exes to the economy. Even after a move to a label-less, independent frontier, the band is still going strong on both sonic and lyrical fronts, with their latest album, “Like It Never Happened,” exhibiting a solid, sophisticated — albeit playful — comeback.

The majority of this new album features much of the usual Catapult faire, filled with smart lyrics, quirky chamber pop and sprinkles of jazz. Take album opener “Happy Pop,” whose cheery name and upbeat sound masks an ironic lyrical critique of the pop industry: Elizabeth Ziman defiantly sings, “Here’s my happy pop song / …It’s got no purpose, got no need / …[But it can] make my label for once content with me.” In broken-fourth-wall fashion, not unlike Sara Bareilles’s “Love Song,” Ziman repeatedly confronts record labels’ requests for generic pop anthems, asking “Are you proud?” Aside from the band’s break into truly “indie” territory, the tongue-in-cheek track hearkens back to the Catapult’s comically mischievous repertoire.

With this newly acquired creative freedom, however, the band has taken some more ambitious strides in their new album, to positive results. “Sugared Poison” turns Ziman into Fiona Apple’s snarkier cousin: Ziman bangs away at the piano keys in a similar, slightly discordant style and throws a snippy rhetorical question at the titular subject, asking her lover, “Are you heaven or hell?” The group takes another venture with lead single “Shoelaces,” this time into ʼ60s rock, swapping out the usual keyboards with an addictive guitar riff and an earworm-inducing melody — it’ll be difficult not to keep hearing Ziman sing, “There is more to come / We’ve only just begun.” How fitting, considering that although the Catapult proves that they’re a group of veteran musicians still capable of composing one strong LP after another, they’re just beginning to explore new ground. “But waiting’s everything,” and it’ll be worth that wait.

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