Chris Catalena and the Native Americans – Here Comes The Time

Chris Catalena and the Native Americans - Here Comes The Time

Chris Catalena and the Native Americans – Here Comes The Time

Chris Catalena has some interesting and talented friends to call on. The first musician actually from Austin, TX whose music I’ve had the opportunity to listen to and review, he must be aware that having Rob Campanella of the Brian Jonestown Massacre as main producer of his album will inevitably raise expectations amongst potential listeners. Bringing in Alex Maas of The Black Angels may raise them slightly higher, and crediting Nelson Bragg, best known for his percussion work alongside Brian Wilson (yes, really) will just about place the seal onto it. Here Comes The Time arrived in my inbox with the weight of music history firmly attached to its download.

Great expectations then? Any first listen of Here Comes The Time is inevitably overshadowed by what are something more than influences at work and what the pre-publicity doesn’t tell you is what the notable influences on Chris Catalena’s own music are, aside from the Beach Boys, 60s Psychedelia and Year Zero Garage Punk. If I and everyone else didn’t know who had been in the studio alongside him, I think  we may just have applauded politely and wondered when the Polyphonic Spree were going to make an unannounced guest appearance, such as on the album’s title track.

They don’t, although as I listened to Here Comes The Time I started wondering what other musicians could comfortably fit into its nine tracks. Quite easy to imagine Jack White adding a few guitar licks to “Dr Napalm”, Anton Newcombe droning contentedly in the background of “Telegram” and even Brian Wilson adding some spontaneous keyboard harmonies to “Plain Paper Plane”, while Chris Catalena conducts proceedings from behind his own antiquated pianola. Here Comes The Time really does sound like it was a lot of fun to make, right down to the kazoo note that ends sixth track ‘Summer Days’.

Forget for a minute that anyone apart from Chris Catalena had a lot of input into Here Comes The Time and you will soon realise that you are listening to a very committed Beatle fan doing exactly what he wants to in the studio, and one whose favourite album is Abbey Road. Nothing at all wrong with that, everyone has at least one Beatles album in their collection and the soaring strings, quirky instrumentation and actual 1960s lyrical themes do deserve more than just a cursory flick through on the music player, and let’s not take it all very seriously either. Chris Catalena’s favourite Beach Boys song is probably “Barbara Ann” and he can play piano and sing at the same time, plus he actually comes from Austin so everyone heading to SXSW next year, drop in and say hi. Just don’t all of you buy him a beer.