Friends, separation, and nostalgia.
Hey, do you guys remember Tiger King?
It’s a weird way to start off a review, I’ll admit, but given how the title of all cats are beautiful’s new single is based on a misheard quote from that show, I just thought I’d remind you all of what a weird time that Tiger King era was. The whole world stopped in its tracks, everyone was stuck at home and, for lack of anything better to do, we all collectively binged and became briefly obsessed with a docuseries about a gay, gun-wielding, tiger-owning criminal - and that’s all we did for a good few weeks, really. Well, some of us. all cats’ Kyle and Elena were considerably more productive.
‘(u know) u mean a long minute 2 me’ is the queer post-pop duo’s first release since signing to Moshi Moshi Records (of Hot Chip fame). It is also the first single out of their upcoming EP, the things we made, a project which they began writing during the first Covid-19 lockdown, when Kyle stayed in the UK and Elena hunkered down in Spain. The nostalgia that many of us felt at the time, propelled by isolation and (trans-national) separation from our loved ones, underpins the music video Elena filmed for the occasion, as well as the single’s sonic landscape in general.
A tentative track recorded on permanently slowed-down audio, ‘long minute’ starts off small and builds over time, with soft piano keys and layered electronica flourishes composing much of its build-up. Short bursts of sound are also sprinkled in from time to time, a wise creative choice that keeps listeners on their toes until, in a sudden yet welcome turn, ‘long minute’ comes alive during the final third of the song. An impressively-handled shift, the change manages to introduce some upbeat percussion to the track while keeping its floaty, somewhat moody ambience intact. It's a nice change of pace for all cats, and part of me wishes we'd gotten more of it.
Still, as much as ‘long minute’s instrumentation works to build up the song's nostalgic mood, this track’s greatest strength lies in its lyrics and vocals. Kyle’s voice in particular truly shines in this single. Genuine and gentle, their performance feels like a calming balm, exuding honesty, warmth, and care. Elena’s vocals also chip in beautifully from the minute mark, producing the impeccable harmonies that, by now, have become a staple of the duo’s sound. It is a pleasure to listen to these two voices tell each other that they “wanna be within whatever walls you call your home that day”, asking “let me know that you make it home”, or casually remarking “well you can bring me something just let me know” – as a fellow Spaniard obsessed with showering my UK friends with Spanish food whenever I return from a trip home, this one really hit.
At the end of the day, it is this sense of emotional closeness in spite of physical distance that propels this song forward and makes it resonate. ‘(u know) u mean a long minute 2 me’ is, as its title implies, a tapestry of all the ways there are to express that someone means a lot to you. Heartfelt, sweet, and open, this single represents a wonderful start to all cats are beautiful’s partnership with Moshi Moshi Records, and spells some really magical stuff to come from the things we made in August.
- good -
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.
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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