The Catamounts are a Winnipeg Surf band that push boundaries, experiment generously and go beyond the realms of musical margins. Surf music in itself is underrated and underexplored and with that, there is a fairly significant generalization that all of it sounds the same. That generalization could be made toward any genre, it’s just that we don’t hear surf music very much and it’s bizarre and distinctive qualities are deeply resonating.
The Catamounts are not only one of the few strong and although quite audibly abstract, technically refined surf bands in Canada, let alone Winnipeg at that. Although the band intends to revise surf rock influence they have essentially renewed the sound altogether. Surf music was most prevalent in the mid 60’s in the crux of sunny California. The Catamounts reclaims this sound brilliantly, which is made even more impressive in 2016, residing from the wrath of glacial Manitoba.
This delightful juxtaposition likely warms both the hearts and hips of Winnipeggers in their multitude of excellent venues splattered throughout that wayward city.
The Catamounts sophomore album, St Nuomatac is an action packed, surf circus that takes you diversely brave melodic avenues. It sounds as though it was recorded in the middle of the ocean, not the exchange district in Winnipeg. The exclusively instrumental record is almost always both classic and contemporary surf music but manages to involve shoegaze, baroque and jazz elements. This eclectic adventure is wild and exciting but void of being chaotic and messy. It is clear each member in the band knows exactly what they’re doing and that they utterly respect doing it. These said members consist of Graham Epp, Andy Rudolph, Grant Trippel and Michael Henderson-Castle. St Nuomatac is fresh of the press and followed by a Canadian tour in celebration of this luminously developed masterwork. There are many layers; eras and genres involved in this record but it never stops being surf and certainly never stops being wonderful.
By Maddy Cristall