[Locals Only] Cat Party

English rock bands from the '80s—still madly popular and seminal. Listeners of '00s modern rock could be forgiven for thinking that nation's grim, Thatcher-era circumstances produced a golden age, as several U.K. artists from that time continue to exert a profound influence on today's up-and-coming groups—for better or worse.

San Clemente/Costa Mesa-based Cat Party—Ryan Nichols (guitar, vocals), Jason Richardson (bass) and Roger Fowler (drums)—are another unit who have fallen under the matte-black spell of Joy Division, the Cure, the Sound and their epigones. Judging from the four tracks mounted on their MySpace page, Cat Party appear to be operating under Oop North Blighty's miserable gray skies rather than Orange County's sun-of-a-beach atmosphere. Exhibit A is “Of Prey,” whose sulking bass line, glum, alternately crunchy and twangy guitar, sluggish tempo and woebegone vocals place the band 180 degrees away from the Beach Boys' “Fun Fun Fun.” By contrast, “The Aftertaste” brings the Goth rock with a decided spring in its step, as if it's trying to shake off a proverbial cape of gloom with some effulgent guitar riffing. This must be their storming live-set closer.

The final two songs—”Jigsaw Thoughts” and “Entitled”—compose Cat Party's 7-inch single (Rich Bitch Records). Mildly undulating and catchy, “Jigsaw Thoughts” is charcoal-hued rock, while “Entitled” is a monochromatic chug with a long face. Overall, Cat Party's songs (thus far, anyway) have a limited range of dynamics and move linearly and unsurprisingly, but for what they are, they're effective. One black-nail-polished thumb up.

Cat Party perform at the Eighth Annual Punk Rock Extravaganza with the Dogs, Damaged Goods, the Pegs and others at the Gypsy Lounge, 23600 Rockfield, Ste. 3A, Lake Forest, (949) 206-9990. Sat., 7 p.m. $12. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/birdsofpreymusic.

Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to ds****@oc******.com.

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