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Stephen Jacques - Prayers For An Orange Cat (self-released)

28 June 2024

I’ve been writing about the state of the singer-songwriter in the modern age a lot recently, specifically about how many enjoy the tag but don’t have the tunes. Well, Stephen Jacques is a singer-songwriter, but he is one with the tunes—bags full. And not just tunes but killer riffs, interesting lyrics, and deft songwriting chops. Case in point: “Prayers For An Orange Cat.”

This, the title track from his upcoming new long-player, shows that even when he takes something as innocent as the night time prowls and back street meanderings of the humble cat as his theme, he tackles the subject brilliantly, giving his titular character a cool and interesting edge, turning this feline vagabond into the sort of bit part that Tom Waits would be cast in for an art-house movie.

And musically, he is on his game, too. A rhythmic backdrop carrying a fantastic riff and then all sorts of guitar sounds mimicking cat calls and choruses shooting through the weave of the song. I guess it should be mentioned that none other than Steve Albini was the recording engineer for this one, Jacques’ go-to when it came to getting his music down on record, and so this could be seen as a salute to him, in light of his recent passing.

It’s a great song—understated, unusual, and always intriguing, but also full of rock and roll edge and infectious hooks. Who thought cats could be this cool? Stephen Jacques for one. If that doesn’t make you grab the album as soon as it hits the streets, I don’t know what will.

Prayers For An Orange Cat