Cats On Fire - Dealing In Antiques

matcd056  /  May 2010
Cats On Fire - Dealing In Antiques
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Cats On Fire - Dealing In Antiques

matcd056  /  May 2010

Extraordinary 20-track collection from Finnish indie favorites Cats On Fire features sold-out EP and single tracks from the band's past plus assorted rarities, unreleased tracks, and recent recordings too.

Previous Cats On Fire albums ‘The Province Complains’ (2007) and ‘Our Temperance Movement’ (2009) earned the band favorable comparisons to indie legends The Smiths, Felt, Orange Juice and Pulp. The albums amassed notable reviews in the music press, including coverage by All Music Guide, The Big Takeover, NME, Q Magazine, and Pop Matters, among others. The band has played countless international shows across Scandinavia, continental Europe, the UK and the US, including sets at Sweden’s prestigious Emmaboda festival, the Indietracks festival in England, and the New York City popfest.

The wonderfully generous 'Dealing in Antiques' is a comprehensive collection of non-album tracks of various origins. Some of the songs were brought down from the attic, and some of them up from the cellar. Some were simply brought forward to a more prominent place in the house, while others were polished a bit. The album features two tracks from the band’s ‘Empty Town’ demo in 2002, six songs from limited edition and long sold out Finnish 7” singles ‘Solid Work’ and ‘Happiness is Chemistry’ from 2003 and 2004, and five tracks from the 2006 ‘Draw In The Reins’ ep on fashionable Swedish imprint Fraction Discs.

Among the album’s unreleased tracks are four superb early recordings from 2004, an unreleased outtake from the ‘Our Temperance Movement’ recording sessions in 2008, new song ‘The Hague’ (previewed on the ‘Matinée Grand Prix’ compilation earlier this year), and a brand new cover version of the 1997 UK number one hit ‘Your Woman’ from White Town.

Spotlighting the brilliant evolution of Cats on Fire over the past eight years, 'Dealing in Antiques' is an essential anthology from one of today’s most popular indie groups. The band is promoting the album with a headline appearance at the San Francisco popfest in May and their first ever trip to Hong Kong in June.

  1. Your Woman
  2. Poor Students Dream of Marx
  3. Never Land Here
  4. Crooked Paper Clip
  5. Something Happened
  6. On His Right Side
  7. Don't Say It Could Be Worse
  8. My Friend In A Comfortable Chair
  9. You Will Find Me Where You Left Me
  10. Solid Work
  11. Higher Grounds
  12. They Produced A Girl
  13. Honey Your Baby
  14. The Smell of An Artist
  15. Your Treasure
  16. The Cold Hands of Great Men
  17. Draw In The Reins
  18. Happiness is Chemistry
  19. Stars
  20. The Hague


Cats on Fire pour out of the speakers, like a thick gluttinous fluid of cool... A treacle of suave and beautiful sex sauce. Melancholy and sad, but, still... Full of joy and laid back charm... Like the boy you know you shouldn't fall for who has that scar on his cheek and the suit that screams DEVIL... but who steals your heart with his smile and laugh before you know how to say no... CATS ON FIRE. Dangerous and charming and dancing in the fire of the very devil with their almost throw-away songs... Played with minimal fuss or effort and discarded for the promise of a whiskey sour and a marlboro light... With songs Never Land Here and their cover of White Towns brilliant Your Woman this is a band who are intent on stealing and conning their way into every heart of every single person who watches them... Dirty, tricky and dripping in Sin... But brilliant with it, and so lovably Lo-Fi you can smell the smoke of the ashtrays and the scent of stale coffee and liquor from the recording studio... An album for those shoe-gazing, skinny jeans wearing cool cats you see wearing shades at night in dark, dingy venues... those boys you aren't sure of - Either vampires or junkies, or both - but so cool and sexy and dangerous... Like Morrissey with a pair of brass balls and a belly full of apathy. CATS ON FIRE... Even the name of the band is fucking cool... Check them out... get this album, and try and not fall into their arms wailing and screaming and salivating... Try. I Dare you.   --Subba Cultcha
Though this Finnish 4-piece, around for nearly a decade now, might be unknown to many, they have been the talk and toast of the indiepop Tinseltown for a few years now with two terrific full-lengths under their belt. This 20 song record is actually a collection of singles, rarities and the like. Leader/vocalist/main songwriter Mattias Bjorkas has been accused of sounding like Morrissey and that is not entirely untrue, but his croon is deeper and richer and the crack musical cast behind him complements his vocals perfectly. The record starts with the collection's only cover, a take on White Town's "Your Woman" (would have rather heard their take on "Hair like Alain DeLeon" but that's just me) and it's not exactly a bang, but they redeem themselves on song number two, "Poor Student's Dream of Marx" with some nimble guitar playing and shuffling rhythm. "Never Land Here" is crisp and elegant, "Something Happened" is spare and pleasant and "Don't Say It Could Be Worse" is confident and vulnerable. Many of these songs paint perfect contradictions and thus, that's one of the many strengths of the band. When so proudly writing pop songs it's too easy to be dismissed and these guys don't deserve a dismissal, on the contrary, a big raise and promotion should be in the works. Where's the boss around here?   --Blurt
“Our Temperance Movement” was one of last year’s top albums and if that whetted your appetite for Cats On Fire or it simply passed you by, here is a splendid and essential collection of songs from the charismatic Finnish quartet. The album carries a generous twenty tracks and gathers together pretty much everything that wasn’t on either of their albums. What it also illustrates is the evolution of the band over their eight year existence. The main recipe hasn’t altered significantly throughout that time though, with simple melodies executed by the amalgam of jangly guitars and keyboards and innocent tales of self-pity. Whilst the chord structures are straight forward, they are remarkable catchy, with obvious leanings on the eighties parents of indie pop, The Smiths, The Wedding Present and Orange Juice. Mattias Björkas has a sombre vocal style, almost monotone, yet strangely endearing, somewhat like a certain Morrissey back then. But there’s something of an air of joy amongst the melancholy that makes for an entertaining listening experience. Songs like “Never Land Here” and “Don’t Say It Could Be Worse” have a brightness to them beyond their woeful themes and the band show that they can rock it out a little if they really want to on “Draw In The Reigns”, which even has a skiffle leaning to it. But it’s within the sorrow that they excel and the Smiths association is exemplified well in “My Friend In A Comfortable Chair” and “The Smell Of An Artist”, where the falsetto interjections and lyrics like “If I ever feel better again I will call you but you shouldn’t hope too much” recap fond memories of the great Moz when he was at his best. The set also exhibits how the band have matured well, with last year’s “The Hague” coming up at the close as the prize jewel; a disromantic vision of a place with “neither hope nor despair”, yet a heart warming recital that is rich and sophisticated. If you’re already a fan, this LP will fill the gaps and augment the bond. If you are unaware of them, this is the only place to start, then when you get to “Our Temperance Movement”, you will be enthralled!
The latest generation of pop artisans has certainly learned that the format doesn't need to be merely an excuse for vapid, throwaway ear candy, but has potential to be meaningful, artistic and mature music. Just how to make meaningful and mature pop music without coming off like a bunch of stuffed-shirt blowhards, however, is one of those lessons the indie generation doesn't seem to have mastered quite yet. All those comically weighty pop purists should look toward Finland's Cats On Fire's latest collection of tunes. Although the 20-cut Dealing in Antiques isn't an album proper -- it collects EP tracks, singles and other orphans -- it could serve as an example on how to write a smart guitar-pop album without becoming overbearing and trite. Juggling the coy jangle of Felt and The Smiths' guitars as well as singer/guitarist Mattais Bjorkas' confidently understated vocals, Dealing In Antiques is, like the band's previous two long-players, an exercise in understated grandeur. Cats on Fire never brashly bandy their hooks about, nor do they sweep into a room full of action. It's perfectly constructed and executed librarian-pop that rises and falls on its assurance that anyone wise enough to appreciate its music should be able to sort out the pop quotient without advertising it. Of course, that's exactly why Cats on Fire landed stateside on Matinée Records along similarly likeminded acts like The Lucksmiths and Northern Portrait, so listening to the 20 cuts on this collection unfurl is nearly a lesson in pop composure. The band translates White Town's "Your Woman" from its synth-pop original into a lilting, melodic number -- even down to reimaging the song's signature "My Woman" trumpet sample on keyboards -- to cast the spotlight on the track's Marxist/feminist underpinnings. "Don't Say It Could Be Worse" reflects on the psychology of happiness and sadness, wrapping the tune in a briskly moving dose of sparkle-pop that somehow found a way to catch both lightening and sunshine in a bottle. "Happiness is Chemistry" tackles modern pharmacological-based mood swings, as the Cats match the song's mood and slip into one of those reserved melodies that's somehow melancholy and giddy. "Poor Students Dream of Marx" is clever and mildly biting, doing both without resorting to any of those self-congratulatory, "we're so smart" moments that hold together so many Belle and Sebastian tracks. Being a sophisticate doesn't mean you have to be a stick in the mud. Cats on Fire come forward with a collection of tracks that's still so in love with pop's frisson-inducing charms that it doesn't need to try to convince us how damned clever it is. The music speaks for itself on both fronts. Listen and learn, up-and-coming indie acts.
Cats on Fire doesn’t seem to know fair play. Here they are releasing a compilation full of early tracks, rarities & b-sides and still manages to come up with such a stunning collection that most indie pop bands would struggle to make a career spanning best of album that could reach the same level of excellence. It’s lovely to notice that songs like My Friend in a Comfortable Chair haven’t lost their charm during the years and still sound amazing today. Than there’s of course Higher Grounds and The Smell Of An Artist from The Seelonce Mayday demo. Real classics and should be among the first choices if someone starts compiling hall of fame for indie pop songs. Melodically superb and lyrically aware pop songs I wrote back in the day and I can still agree with my past self. A new treat on the album is a wonderful White Town cover Your Woman. I can admit that they weren’t making perfect pop music right from the beginning (by the time of the second single they probably were) and there are some only good songs here as well. Nevertheless, I think the biggest reason not to give this full amount of hearts is the fact that they’ve gotten even better during the years and are nowadays pretty much the best finnish band and (one of) the best indie pop band(s) in general. So if these were already worth five hearts, what are they doing right now. Something pretty spectacular I would say.   --One Chord To Another
Just a disclaimer, this is a collection album, including rarities, B-Sides, covers and a new track, all of which date as far back as 2002. That being said, Cats on Fire is probably the one band that deserves your attention that you’ve possibly overlooked (mistake!). If this is the case, then Dealing in Antiques is a great starting point, a place to find your footing as your obsession begins to grow. For those of you already in the know, you have to be ecstatic to have access to these wondrous tunes. You’ll know immediately that this group is willing to go out on a limb, as they begin this collection with “Your Woman,” a cover of the hit by White Town. Still, keeping true to their form, there is a bit more of a jangle in the chorus guitar chord, giving more of a smooth bounce than the original provided with its club-banger tendencies. They then lead you into 19 more tracks, each one worthy of your careful listening ear. “Poor Students Dream of Marx” establishes the band’s sound as far back as 2004, and we’re lucky that they had such foresight to see their own greatness, even so early on in their career. Personally, the way the guitar is played throughout the entire song just really gets me, especially when it picks up speed and difficulty. Steady percussion keeps pace, allowing the guitar to cut in and out of the song, all of which accompany Mattias Bjorkas voice (imagine Morrissey-mixed with Jarvis Cocker, except more of a warmth tone as opposed to blatant sexuality). However, not a band to be pigeon-holed, the group offers tracks like “Something Happened.” There’s a bit of a gentle strumming along the guitar here, yet it all has a more country feel, almost folk-ish, showing that the band isn’t all about pristine jangle pop (though they knock that genre out of the park). They immediately follow that with “On His Right Side,” which is one of those tracks that exhibits the beauty of this collection, as understated piano walks quietly in the background of Bjorkas and a heavily strummed guitar. As Bjorkas reaches for that falsetto, you can’t help but to tingle just a bit; these are the sorts of moments that create cult followings. As much as you’d liked to ignore the Morrissey similarity between Bjorkas and the man himself, a song like “You Will Find Me Where You Left Me” does definitely bring the aged crooner to mind. Yet, there is a certain solemnity to the way Mattias sings throughout this song, as if he’s not seeking your understanding, merely evoking his own personal sentiment. ”Honey Your Baby” probably doesn’t do much either to distance Cats on Fire from The Smiths either, yet you have to really leave all that aside, as the sharpness of Marr is not quite as present here, instead replaced by a warmer, gentler guitar. If you ask me, this is where the band achieves their bread and butter, asking you to fall in love alongside the record, rather than to merely listening to a story of another man falling in love. Really, if you want a perfect record, this is probably as close as you can come. You’ve got your jangle pop tunes, as previously mentioned, yet you’ve got slow burners such as “They Produced a Girl,” one of the band’s earliest songs on this collection. The vocal quality is a bit dense, but it’s the perfect juxtaposition to the rest of the record, showing how what was rough merely needed a bit of polishing before creating gem after gem. And to close out the record, they offer a new track, “The Hague.” One listen to this track will make you salivate immediately for the next album, as this one surely isn’t enough. If it weren’t for great little labels like Matinée Recordings, many people would probably not have the access to Cats on Fire, which would be tragic. Listening to Dealing in Antiques gives the aura of a band beginning an enduring cult following. You want all your friends to love this album, yet at the same time, you feel as if you’ll lock these tunes away forever. Such is the way a quiet legacy is built, and such is the one you have before you after looking through the closet of this wonderful band from Finland.   --Austin Town Hall
I must admit that shamefully I'd never heard anything by Cats On Fire until now, despite them being responsible for two long players (2007's 'The Province Complains' and 'Our Temperance Movement' that surfaced last year). With the ever reliable seal of approval that is Matinée Records, I, however, pretty much knew before I heard a single note that they would be my kind of band and I was not disappointed. Hailing from the little known Finnish town of Vaasa, and formed over eight years ago, Cats On Fire took five years to finally release their debut album. Prior to that, they did churn out a few singles/EPs and this CD basically collects those old tracks, some demos and a couple more odds and sods together to save new fans from trawling E-bay and paying inflated prices for the early releases. Normally this kind of collection has "one for the completist only" written all over it, but the quality throughout makes this an essential album for fan and casual listener alike. Comparisons read like a who's who of classic indie bands from the last 25 years, with the strongest reference points being the Smiths and mid-period Morrissey, Felt and Blueboy (circa 'Unisex'). There are also hints towards fellow Scandinavian pop icon Jens Lekman, the completely underrated the Bitter Springs and the mighty Belle and Sebastian, but Cats On Fire haven't just copied their musical trailblazers, they have carefully distilled the best elements of each to form a powerful tonic of indie goodness that makes them an enticing proposition along a similar vein to Sheffield newcomers the Crookes. It is hard to pick out individual tracks, but debut single 'Solid Work' which transcends its title, 'The Smell of an Artist' and 'The Cold Hands of Great Men' deserve particular praise, as does a stunning cover of White Town's 'Your Woman'. Time to track down the first 2 albums methinks.   --Pennyblack Magazine
Also from Matinée this month is Dealing In Antiques, a 20-track collection of EPs, B-sides, and new recordings by Finland’s Cats On Fire. Dealing In Antiques is essential for anyone who loves good pop music, Scandinavia, or the lingering ghost of the Smiths. Oh, by the way, most of the EPs these tracks are taken from are sold-out, so this is the only way you’re going to hear them. So, buy it. It’s 20 tracks and a brilliant investment, at least it is if you’re sort of person who likes the sort of music that you can enjoy. It’s provided hours of entertainment for me since I first listened to it last week—that is, when I haven’t been busy reveling in Math and Physics Club.   --The Indie Handbook
Cats on Fire, a Finnish indie-pop act with only two full-lengths released, have decided it’s time to release a batch of hard-to-find and unreleased tracks. If it seems a bit early, it seems even odder when Dealing in Antiques opens with a cover of White Town’s “Your Woman”. The performance doesn’t feel tongue-in-cheek, and actually fits in well with the band’s other work, but it’s still a bit odd. Fortunately, the material holds up well enough to warrant a compilation, and even the cover sounds like a new classic. Critics frequently reference the Smiths as a comparison to the band, but groups like the Go-Betweens and the Lucksmiths have a more similar feel. Cats on Fire writes catchy, familiar-sounding songs, but don’t revel in big hooks or instantaneous earworms. The jangles and straightforward lines build the sort of atmosphere that leads you to put on glasses just to listen. The spectacles might come in handy, because the band (led by Mattias Bjorkas) does show a predilection for literary songwriting, and in the way that that term usually gets bandied about. The songs are smart and mature, but not given to melodrama or overexpression. They’re just tight three-minute nuggets that end up being more than they sound. The song title “Poor Students Dream of Marx” should give you a good sense of the band’s lyrical sensibility. The song—one of the disc’s finest—doesn’t work exactly like you’d expect. The song creates a tension between Marxist and romantic uncertainties. Unable to go out or to stay in, the singer repeats the title phrase both as a description and as an imperative given to “poor students”. The final piece sounds dreamy, lost and a little worried, the political implications being overshadowed by a more general state of being. You probably don’t need to be poor or a student to relate. “Honey Your Baby” takes a look at songwriting itself, succeeding in an area that could become self-indulgent largely because of Bjorkas’s ambivalence toward the whole project. The song comes from an early self-titled EP (the kind of thing that gets released in a batch of 200 vinyls released in the Czech Republic). It’s an early moment of the band taking a serious and critical look at themselves. The song finds a certain inanity in pop music, and in the creative process where you simply have to “write another song about your girlfriend and her bed” to have a hit. It’s a revealing moment. Fortunately, if it reveals a certain cynicism, it didn’t end the writing endeavor. The band, while lacking a certain amount of productivity, hasn’t lacked quality in its recordings. You’d struggle to pick out which of these songs are the demos or unreleased cuts. “Poor Students”, for example never previously appeared on a release, despite being one of the highlights on Dealing in Antiques. That comment shouldn’t disparage the quality of the group’s released work; instead, it’s meant to demonstrate the success of all of this material. After roughly nine years together, you’d think the band would have a third full-length ready to go without just looking at vintage material. Fortunately, the music’s strong enough and the tracks are cohesive enough for this release to work as something other than a fan-only record. With the band’s Matinée debut coming just a year ago and now this release, maybe it’s time to hope these guys will make their efficiency match their quality.   --Pop Matters
Cats on Fire's Dealing in Antiques was released in May and is a retrospective collection of 'rare' and unreleased recordings that spans their time as a band. One of the most attractive things that an artist can be is highly productive. Signs of hard work and consistency always have the effect of swaying me towards an artists cause. I'm not sure what it is, as there is nothing worse than a busy-body, but an earnest, honest, work ethic is surely an attractive thing. Cats on Fire certainly have an earnest and hardworking approach to what they do; as serious and sincere as their ability to write brilliantly single-minded pop music at a time when most people are musically obsessed with appearing to be generically eclectic and tiresomely alternative and subversive. 'Dealing with Antiques' is released only months after their second album 'Our Temperance Movement' and collects most of the songs that the band have recorded that either didn't make it onto one of their two albums or are now hard to find. Although most will focus on the cover of White Town’s 'Your Woman', which is very good, I think that the value in this record is to be found in the sheer consistency of great songs. Although it represents quite a long period of time, the quality of the music and song writing is pretty great throughout. It is worth noting that it isn't a 'best of' and thankfully so, as that is normally be the act of a band approaching its end. Cats on Fire, however, seem to be in ascendancy and if this is the closing of one chapter for them lets hope it’s the first, rather than the last.   --Ye Gods, I’m Simply Thrilled
I have thoroughly enjoyed the first two records from this Finnish 4-piece so was genuinely surprised to see they had a new record out. This 20-song collection is actually a collection of singles, rarities and the like (basically everything they have recorded that was not on their first two records). One listen and the band’s charisma and panache will shine on through. Leader/vocalist/main songwriter Mattias Bjorkas has been accused of sounding like a certain 80’s UK band (Smiths) and while that is true to an extent, Bjorkas’ voice is deeper and richer and the crack musical cast behind him compliment his vocals perfectly (I also hear bits of Orange Juice and The Wedding Present too, among others). The record begins with the a White Town cover (remember them? Cats on Fire cover “Your Woman”) in fact, surprisingly, it’s the only cover on the whole record. Not necessarily a bad rendition but not the strongest way to start the record off but they more than make up for it on the next song, and the next one and next one and…well, you get the picture. They offer a different version of their terrific “Higher Grounds”, “Never Land Here” is confident while “Something Happened” is more minimal but just as enjoyable. The shuffling “Solid Work” was a unique pop tune as was “Don’t Say It Could Be Worse.” It’s a terrific collection and if you’re of the belief that nobody writes ‘em like they used to then give this band your immediate attention.   --Dagger
Also new on Matinée is Cats On Fire’s collection of old stuff called Dealing In Antiques. After kicking off with a cover of Your Woman that sounds like a cross between Kele from Bloc Party and Robert Smith fronting a crisp indie pop tune, the album features lots of lovely indie pop, beautifully sung. Although at times this can be a bit weedy and samey, when they do get it right it sounds great. Such instances are Don’t Say It Could Be Worse which reminds me of Ballboy, and They Produced A Girl which a more ballsy Drums.   --Russell's Reviews
Cats On Fire samlar ihop åtta års lösa spår på en skiva. Här finns alldeles nya inspelningar som covern på den gamla White Town-hitten Your Woman till sånger från bandets absoluta barndom i västra Finland. På vägen passerar vi låtar som mest har hörts som MP3-filer (även om någon läsare av detta kanske fick tag i en av de limiterade vinylsinglarna) eller på någon spelning. Det är inte kronologiskt sorterat. Att våga strunta i det är modigt. Vissa spår sticker ut men det är tydligt att bandet hållit sig till samma grundidé. Trots att samlingen spänner över åtta år spretar det inte. De skillnader som sammanhänger med en förändrad arbetsprocess är inte så farliga att de riskerar att sabotera en stabil grund. Bandet var dessutom förhållandevis moget redan från början. Det känns som ett dubbelt så långt vanligt album. Den enda risken är att lyssnaren inte orkar hela vägen genom de tjugo spåren utan vill portionera ut lyssnandet. Men det går också bra.   --Gaffa
Hay que reconocer que somos unos hipócritas, solemos juzgar muchas reediciones con severidad por el mero hecho de tener todas las grabaciones originales de una banda. No es que nos moleste la idea de que cualquier “mortal” pueda tener todas esas canciones que nosotros fuimos adquiriendo con paciencia y esfuerzo, más bien todo radica en el cariño que guardamos para ciertos grupos, devaluando con quizás demasiada rapidez reediciones que en el fondo cumplen con su cometido básico de trasladar una música fantástica a nuevas generaciones, por mucho que a la vista de un fan antiguo estas maniobras a veces resulten apresuradas y hechas con falta de cariño por alguien que ha significado mucho en nuestra educación musical. Afortunadamente, sí, por suerte, hay cosas que en su día se nos escaparon, algo que nos aleja de una supina sapiencia que pudiera terminar resultando altiva, por aquí no estamos más que para aprender y pasarlo bien, de modo que cuando alguien tiene la brillante idea de traer a nosotros un disco que ayuda a completar nuestra discoteca no podemos más que aplaudir a rabiar este tipo de iniciativas. Los finlandeses Cats On Fire sin duda alguna son una de nuestras bandas favoritas de los últimos tres o cuatro años, dos Lp’s les han bastado para situarse en todo lo alto y destacar entre cientos, acaso miles, de bandas Indie Pop de todo el mundo. Fraction Discs fue la encargada de dárnoslos a conocer gracias a Draw In The Reins, un Cd-Ep que entró con fuerza en casa para no dejar de sonar durante meses. Entonces caímos en la cuenta de que la banda llevaba en activo unos cuantos años, habiendo producido ya dos pequeños 7” que pasamos por alto y que por aquel entonces andaban descatalogados, eso por no hablar de alguna maqueta absolutamente imposible de encontrar. La veteranía es un grado, de modo que nos armamos de paciencia (siempre ayudados por decenas de discos que aguardaban su escucha) y empezamos a olvidar aquellos vinilos. Matinée Recordings no logró hacerse con la edición de The Province Complains, pero sí se hizo con el grupo para su segundo trabajo Our Temperance Movement, convirtiéndose en uno de los sellos encargados de publicitar al grupo en todo el mundo, probablemente el más importante de todos. Jimmy Tassos es extremadamente fan de sus bandas, y siendo consciente de la demanda que existía por los viejos temas de Cats On Fire se ha lanzado a la edición de Dealing In Antiques, un Cd que viene a completar la discografía y colmar a los seguidores de los finlandeses. Esta recopilación, de ineludible adquisición para todos aquellos que no descubrieron al grupo hasta la edición de su primer Lp, reúne sus tres trabajos previos, los Ep’s Solid Work, Happiness Is Chemistry y Draw In Rains, pero no queda ahí la cosa, ya que también podremos encontrar algún que otro tema maquetero, outtakes, temas semi inéditos y la deliciosa versión del hit Your Woman (White Town) a cargo del grupo. Con un contenido tan generoso no es de extrañar que esta recopilación se vaya a los veinte temas. Obviamente no todas las canciones incluidas aquí encierran el mismo valor, pero en conjunto sí conforman un excelente documento sonoro que da fe de la evolución del grupo hasta llegar al nivel de su primer Lp. Dealing In Antiques abre fuego con Your Woman, versión del tremendo éxito de White Town que estrenaron ante su autor en el concierto que Cats On Fire ofrecieron en la pasada edición de Indietracks. Perfectamente reconocible, el tema se acerca a las versiones más bailables que el propio Jyoti Mishra elaboró en su día. A continuación nos lanzamos a un repaso de unos temas que no guardan orden cronológico, a destacar algunas composiciones que se encuentran al nivel de las piezas más reconocidas del repertorio del grupo. Poor Students Dream Of Marx es un medio tiempo encantador, al igual que Never Land Here. Crooked Paper Clip deja de manifiesto una obsesión por las inflexiones vocales de Mozz, Something Happened por sí sola hubiera justificado la adquisición del primer Ep. de la banda, Don’t Say It Could Be Worse es genial, My Friend In A Comfortable Chair tiene un aire campero, Solid Work es delicada, Higher Grounds es uno de sus hits reconocidos…y así podíamos continuar, porque el disco realmente merece la pena, pero son muchos los temas aquí contenidos. Aún así no debe cegarnos nuestro cariño por el grupo, también hay aquí alguna canción que baja algo el nivel, como You Will Find Me Where You Left Me o Honey Your Baby, pero éstas son las menos y no desmerecen el resultado final. Dealing In Antiques es, como ya decíamos anteriormente, el juguete perfecto para completar nuestra colección de discos de Cats On Fire, nadie que disfrute con los dos Lp’s de la banda debiera perderse este Cd que, como siempre, puede adquirirse a precio más que razonable en la tienda de Matinée Recordings.   --360º de Separación
Después de una semana cargada de Lo-Fi y ruidos varios, es un gustazo escuchar un poco de pop bien grabado. De eso saben mucho esta banda finlandesa que ya lleva unos cuantos años deleitándonos con las mejores melodías de jangle-pop. Este Dealing In Antiques es una recopilación de sus primeras grabaciones y algunas curiosidades difíciles de encontrar, como la versión de Your Woman de White Town. Eso no significa que sean canciones menores que las de sus dos discos oficiales, todo lo contrario, los veinte temas del álbum son una autentica maravilla, y Don’t Say It Could Be Worse, Never Land Here o My Friend In Confortable Chair (como me recuerda esta canción a The Smiths), están entre lo mejor de su carrera. !!!Absolutamente Recomendable¡¡¡   --Don't Eat The Yellow Snow
Se nel 1997 non vivevate sulla luna o nella giungla del Guatemala, vi ricordate senz'altro Your woman di White Town: è uno di quei pezzi dal successo così fulminante e pervasivo che, a distanza di tempo, hanno cancellato la fama del suo autore, l'indiano inglese Jyoti Mishra. Ora, cosa c'entra la meteora White Town con il nostro gruppo finlandese preferito? C'entra, perchè Mattias Björkas e compagni, in uno dei loro tour in giro per il mondo, hanno incrociato i passi di Jyoti, e lì deve essere nata l'idea di suonare la cover della indimenticata (forse non indimenticabile) Your woman, che oggi apre il nuovo disco dei Cats On Fire. Scelta curiosa e azzeccata, in fondo, trattandosi in realtà non di un vero e proprio album nuovo, ma piuttosto di una raccolta di b-sides, inediti e rarità, tratti dalla storia quasi decennale della band. La Matinèe, casa californiana del gruppo, non ha resistito a spremere come un limone la produzione di quella che ormai è una delle sue band di punta, alfieri di quell'indie-pop di marca british e sapore retrospettivo di cui la label è oggi una delle più aggiornate antologie. Ecco allora che scopriamo e riscopriamo con piacere canzoni che in fondo nulla aggiungono di quanto già sappiamo dello stile inconfondibile dei quattro finlandesi, ma che - quasi senza cedimenti lungo i venti (!!!) episodi - possiedono quel brio elegante ed aereo che tanto abbiamo lodato in The Province Complains e Our Temperance Movement. Non c'è ovviamente il lavoro di cesello produttivo dei due dischi, però alcuni gioiellini ancora grezzi (praticamente autoprodotti) come My friend in a confortable chair, Something happened o You will find me where you left me, testimoniano il talento in divenire di Mattias e sodali, discepoli diligenti alla scuola di Smiths, Belle & Sebastian e Field Mice. Discepoli in grado di pareggiare i maestri nel caso di pezzi (che in verità già conoscevamo) come Higher grounds, The Hague e Draw in the reins, ottimi esempi di quella vigorosa eleganza che è il marchio di fabbrica dei Cats On Fire. In definitiva Dealing In Antiques è - come suggerisce il titolo, un oggetto per collezionisti e fan, ma dopo tutto non solo.   --Just Another Pop Song
On allait bien rigoler… Des blondinets finlandais, au nom potache un peu naze, avec des trombines à la Aha, en plus jeunes - ah ah ! - qui reprennent en ouverture le single de White Town "Your Woman" et son gimmick kitsch et entêtant, puis enchaînent des titres soigneusement enrobés de guitares eighties. Non mais, de qui se moque-t-on ? Nous sommes en 2010, tout de même, Monsieur. Bon, d'accord, "Dealing With Antiques" regroupe des titres recyclés des presque dix années d'existence du groupe - chutes de studio ou démos. Et certes, la nostalgie, ça peut avoir du bon, mais quand on est un vrai groupe qui se respecte, depuis l'an 2000, si on se sert de ses ancêtres, ou de ceux des îles voisines, c'est pour les recycler dans une tambouille plus moderne et hétérogène. Là, de l'indie pop aussi pure, c'est indécent. En fait, ça ne s'est pas vraiment passé comme ça : je reçois le disque, et les premières écoutes évoquent avec une telle insistance la pop anglaise des années 80 que l'on sort bluffé par un tel exercice de style. On se demande juste de quel quartier de Manchester ces gars-là viennent, avant de se renseigner. L'album, notamment dans sa seconde partie, serre de si près le registre des Smiths, que cela frôle par bribes le plagiat – notamment au détour de certains phrasés vocaux. Le chanteur a dû pas mal écouter Morrissey, quand même. Un peu trop peut-être - c'est même la clé de cet album, parce qu'une fois libéré de ce mimétisme, une fois pardonné ce scandale, on se retrouve devant un album tout bonnement génial. Car le chanteur, Mattias Björkas, qui est aussi le compositeur principal des Cats on Fire, est sacrément doué. Vingt titres, rien que ça, plus disparates que ce que la tapisserie vintage laisse d'abord entrevoir. Le son eighties, et la constance de la formation guitare / basse / batterie / voix ne dissimulent finalement qu'à peine une variété d'humeurs chatoyante, et fascinante. Les Cats on Fire transforment tout en or : la mélancolie un peu lancinante, alliée à l'énergie des compositions, se fait tantôt twee pop tantôt indie rock, oscillant avec aisance, d'un titre à l'autre, entre les Field Mice (peut-être une autre grosse référence des Cats on Fire - ce qui ne manque pas de piment) et les Stone Roses ("Don't Say It Could Be Worse"), ou déviant franchement vers de la proto-dance ("The Smell of an Artist" et son incroyable gimmick de synthé). Quant au son, ne croyez pas qu'il soit approximatif parce que ce sont des démos : au contraire il est parfaitement maîtrisé et fait honneur à ces compos impeccables. Aussi à cet égard, l'album dépasse de loin son descriptif succinct de "collection de chutes de studio". Les vingt titres semblent ratisser méticuleusement tous les états d'esprit que la brit pop rend possibles – à l'image de la guitare électrique, qui oscille perpétuellement entre accords plaqués sèchement et arpèges tricotant un mur de cordes à la fois véloce et enrobant, à la manière des La's, de John Squire, ou de Johnny Marr. Tantôt fougueux (le pulpien "Draw in the Reins") tantôt lyrique ("Crooked Paper Clip"), les vingt titres restent globalement d'une humeur légère, voire globalement enjouée, mais c'est souvent pour mieux altérer l'ensemble, au détour d'un accord ou à la fin d'une phrase – on reconnaîtra là la marque d'orfèvres du genre. Toujours est-il que pour un objet hybride, "Dealing With Antiques" est sacrément cohérent – rien que de l'excellent parmi ces antiquités... Et que pour sortir un album de brit pop, ces Finlandais sont sacrément brillants.   --Pop News
Ein reguläres Studioalbum lassen die Cats On Fire ihrem letztjährigen Werk Our Temperance Movement leider erstmal nicht folgen. Aber das Reste-Aufwärmen von Dealing In Antiques hat hat auch seinen Charme.Die Vergleiche, die in Bezug auf Cats On Fire immer gerne geführt wurden, führten fast immer über Namen wie Morrissey, Edwyn Collins oder vergleichbare Ikonen der melodisch etwas anspruchsvolleren Pop-Szene. Völlig zurecht, und daher bekam das 2009er Album auch viel Lob von allen Seiten. Anno 2010 werden nur alte Demos, EP-Tracks sowie unveröffentlichte Nummern zusammengewürfelt und als Dealing In Antiques unters Volk gebracht, wobei die alten Songs zum Teil etwas überholt wurden. Im Gesamtbild findet man einmal mehr wie aus der Zeit gefallenen Pop, von dezentem Gitarrenspiel getragen, mit einer ungewöhnlich akzentuierten Stimme einzigartig gemacht und sich definitiv nicht aufs erste Hinhören erschließend. Highlight ist übrigens die gleich zu Beginn platzierte Coverversion des White Town-Hits “Your Woman”.   --Popwolf