Catfish Haven

In an age of ironic appreciation,

Catfish Haven

’s unashamed love of dirty, bluesy bar rock feels refreshing, especially when Devastator takes the sound they felt so comfortable with in Tell Me and tries to stretch it in various directions. The album’s opening tracks make use of gospel-style backing vocals, which signals a shift to the soulful that the rest of the album will continue. “Invitation to Love” and “Halftime Show” display a palpable punk influence, with sped-up guitars and strong, minimal beats. “Tripping in Memphis” slows things down, forcing the listener to consider how each of its elements works together. All this messing around with tone and energy levels would result in a confused and stretched album, but the soulful touches and George Hunter’s strained, weary vocals keep everything more or less together. The strategy results in an interesting blending of flavors that succeeds more often than it stumbles, and signals a certain desire on Catfish Haven’s part to explore the limits of the genre they’ve chosen to work within.