Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Julia Austin
What do you know about Catcher? The Brooklyn, NYC-based band have recently released their debut album ‘The Fat of a Broken Heart’, and it’s a riotous and thought-provoking listen. They’ve thrown their hat in the ring to be the next new saviours of post-punk (if there is time). Like many great bands before them, Catcher have a unique lyrical offering and vocal delivery, and for all the influences they display as a band – in a now hyped but saturated genre – they somehow still sound fresh throughout their debut album.
Over its 10 tracks and 40 minutes runtime, Catcher show glimpses of the emotional, wrecking ball post-punk of The Murder Capital – see ‘Yesterday’s Favorite’ – alongside the drawn-out drawl and mountain-climbing tense instrumental builds of mainstays Protomartyr or Iceage – see hits ‘Fallen Stones’ and ‘Comparing Saviours and Friends’. Instrumentally the band are able to mix it up, while still carving their own path, the songwriting on ‘The Fat of a Broken Heart’ feels mulled over, heartfelt and personal – the vocal output of Austin Eichler is magnetic, even drifting at times into the stylistically incomprehensible.
‘The Skin’ could be a parallel universe The Velvet Underground track, a reimagination dragged through the late 60’s and 70’s New York City straight into a grief-stricken 2022. The backend of the record enters sludgy, goth-inspired territory ‘Cluster Flies’, it sees Catcher bathing in the bleak, noise soundscapes of The Birthday Party. What makes the record so listenable (and sometimes frightening) is that Catcher don’t overstay their welcome in any particular area, opting to move at pace with the combative low-end drive of childhood friends Cameron McRae and Wilson Chestney on bass and drums.
The vocal delivery of Austin Eichler drags us blindfolded through the churning guts of Catcher’s post-punk and alternative influences. It sometimes submerges us beneath, but more often than not pulls the listener up to the surface, revelling in the processes of heartbreak and healing through Eichler’s free-flowing internal monologue.