The new Alpha Cat EP Venus Smile is due to be released on indie label Aquamarine Records June 24, 2022. It will initially be released worldwide digitally, and CDs (!) will also be available.
Elizabeth McCullough formed the band Alpha Cat to support a notable success with the first Alpha Cat record, Real Boy, which was produced by Fred Smith of Television. But as often happens, the band fell apart after recording the follow up, Pearl Harbor, yet the Alpha Cat name stuck.
This new record, Venus Smile, began recording in Reseda, California in 2007 at Bright Orange Studios, and the final touches were added from March to May of this year with everyone working remotely from home. This record was written and produced by McCullough, with Jason Harrison Smith on drums, Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams, John Mayer) on every guitar but acoustic (exception: “Wichita”) Reggie McBride on bass (Stevie Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic, and Elton John, for a start) and Jane Scarpantoni on cello (REM, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beastie Boys, Lou Reed…) All but this year’s mixing and mastering was done by the late Brett (Cosmo) Thorngren. The sound of the songs vary, ranging from rock to pop to Americana, with shades between…
“Opposition is actually the natural prerequisite for union. As a result of opposition, a need to bridge it arises.” ~ Confucious (The I Ching or Book of Changes: Richard Wilhelm translation)
McCullough explains: “Having lived my life as an ‘artist’ I am fully aware that once a work enters the public domain, it can take on any number of meanings for as many people who may experience it. And this is how it should be.
My take on the overall theme of this record is one of redemption and exhaustion: exhaustion with all the anger and the fighting, exhaustion from the division that has so greatly impacted our world. But we all live on a planet of which every single one of us has more in common than not. So while not every song is about this specifically, each one of them is in some way about separations, and the healing of these separations. Some address my sense of optimism that they can and will be healed, others aren’t quite there.
But I have myself survived a total separation from myself; with a well-documented severely depressive episode that took me out for over a decade. And I have not only recovered to continue this life of healing but thrived. I believe we are all meant for and capable of the same. But I have made the choice to move beyond being defined by past trauma. So yes, I still do have hope in a time when hope, and healing, are in such short supply. Of course, I myself am not fully “redeemed” but I have certainly moved further on the path than I would have ever dreamt. It is my belief that this is possible for all who live in this world, whether I personally agree with their belief systems or not. Our promise, whatever that may be, for as long as we are alive, is never wasted. No one is powerless.”