CD review by Tony Smith
Fourplay, an ‘electric string quartet’ released this slightly avant garde album in 1998.
While string quartets generally have a ready repertoire in the classical field, the originality of these arrangements makes it impossible to place Catgut Ya Tongue? into a fixed musical epoch or genre, except by identifying the sources of their tunes.
Fourplay are Lara Goodridge (violin and vocals), Chris Emerson (viola) and the Hollo brothers, Tim (viola) and Peter (cello).
As the punning name of the group suggests, there is a playful attitude in this ensemble.
It is not surprising then to find that among these 11 tracks are found two television themes from the popular programs, Dr Who with its futuristic sound, and the cheeky animated soapie, The Simpsons.
Other tunes from the public domain arranged by Fourplay are Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’, Nina Simone’s ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’, Suede’s ‘The 2 Of Us’, Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, Depeche Mode’s ‘The Sweetest Perfection’, a Led Zeppelin medley of ‘The Ocean’ and ‘Black Dog’.
Even The Beastie Boys get a run with ‘Sabotage’.
Peter Hollo shows flair for composition on ‘Languid, Yet …’ and with Chris Emerson on ‘Corrosion’.
The album warms up after the third track when the rhythm of the pieces change.
Until then, it feels as though staccato cello sets the pace.
Or it could be that Lara Goodridge’s true voice on ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’ really puts the listener in touch with the group’s spirit.
There is great talent in this string quartet.
It is commendable that they broke out of the classical mould and took the daring step into music which perhaps had never been covered in this way.
In the final analysis however, the listener’s reaction will probably vary, from being mildly entertained and in awe of the players’ virtuosity, to wild enthusiasm if Led Zeppelin, Depeche Mode, Metallica and Suede float your musical boat.
Also available by Fourplay is Now to the Future – TN498-51 and The Joy Of – TN500-51