On missing your friends.
We don’t talk about the struggles of transnational friendships enough. I mean, I don’t shut up about them, but as a society we don’t. It’s been almost a year now since I last set foot in London and, while I love my home in Spain, the fact that I haven’t seen most of my UK friends in the flesh since last year downright hurts.
But fortunately, all cats are beautiful are here to ease the pain, or at least to share it.
Rearing up for the release of the things we made, an EP Kyle and Elena worked on whilst locked down in different countries, the queer pop duo newest single release, ‘thought i saw u in the shop last night’, is a somewhat lonely track – and it’s not like it’s trying to hide it. In a surprising turn of events, the relaxed, echoey guitar strings that open up the song do not give way to the beautiful harmonies we have come to expect from the band (gasp!). Instead, listeners are treated to Elena’s singular voice, which carries most of the song on its own. This is a welcome change of pace for all cats; giving Elena’s calm and unassuming vocals some time to shine solo is a fantastic way for the band to experiment with new arrangements and formats.
The playful sonic flourishes and synthetic motifs that kick in right before the minute mark work to give the track a bit more cheer and shape, as well as making it significantly more danceable, as showcased by Elena’s casual moves in the track’s music video. Truly, it's an impressive first minute, although one that might reveal a bit too much, a bit too quickly. Nothing about the rest of the track surprised me like those first few moments did, even with a start that promises twists and turns.
However, while ‘thought i saw u in the shop last night’ may lack the same kind of instrumental build found in other all cats songs, the attention to detail in this track is still laudable. I am particularly obsessed with the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it addition of Kyle’s vocals almost halfway through the song, a creative choice that will have listeners mirroring Elena's state of mind throughout the song, pausing for a second and asking “Wait, was that really them?”.
As the band explains, “when you miss someone you think you see them everywhere. You find yourself turning around to check if the person that just walked past you was them, even if you know it’s impossible, even if they look nothing like the other person, but for a split second you were absolutely sure it was them.”
It is brilliant to see a band committing to a theme, both lyrically and sonically, enough to make their listeners feel what the song is about. From its dream-like reverb to its endlessly personal Frank Ocean-related lyrics, ‘thought i saw u in the shop last night’ manages to capture exactly what it feels like to spend your days dreaming about getting to see your friends again. And you should give it a listen.
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Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (pronounced "I-know-ah") is a culturally confused Creative Writing postgraduate student from the Basque Country, Spain. She is passionate about film, music and politics, and she should probably know more than she does about all three.
This article was edited by Fin Cousins, a literature student and writer studying at Kings College, London. He is an avid consumer of sports and music and is still waiting for Love Island to accept his application. He also made our logo.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He edited this article and is a Fleet Foxes shill.
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