Release Date: Oct 7, 2008
Record label: Secretly Canadian
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
“Number one in your hearts and number one on the charts: Catfish Haven!” The announcer introduces the band as if at a live show, and the booze-heavy call-and-response anthem begins with a feverish “Are You Ready”. But just by seeing the album title and cover art of Devastator, one can surmise that Catfish Haven’s debut rocks with a ‘70s kind of flair. The hot pink background with the silhouette of a lingerie-clad lady is as sexy as rock and roll gets.
Catfish Haven, led by the booming voice and songwriting of frontman George Hunter, seem to have all the right ingredients in place to be something really special, so it's a bit mystifying why this second full-length feels like it comes up just a bit short. Things start promisingly and with a bang, as Hunter gives the opener, "Are You Ready," a soulful, gospel intensity, but even though he's in fine voice on the rest of the album, the first song is really the peak here, and the addition of saxophone on the track gives it a real R&B punch. The short, sweet, and simple "Halftime Show" (yes, it comes exactly halfway through the sequence) is a kinetic pleasure, as well, but it's really more a placeholder than an actual song, and the closer, "Every Day," is quite moving and lovely, but on the whole, although Hunter gives every track the best vocal intensity he can muster and the playing is solid, the songs here feel like a rewrite or two away from being what they should be.