OK, that’s hopefully the busiest work week of the year over and done with now. And after something like 21 hours sleep out of the last 48, I’m starting to feel like I’m not completely exhausted.

So it seems like time to kick some life back into the blog with a proper LP review of a record I’ve been listening to a lot in the last couple of weeks.

After releasing their debut single ‘What’s It All About?’ as far back as 2006, the Cathode Ray have finally released their debut self-titled LP on Stereogram Records. Although originally a songwriting collaboration between Jeremy Thoms and Paul Haig, Haig left the band a while back.

However that appears to have had no adverse impact on the band at all because ‘The Cathode Ray’ is, simply put, a cracking record.

By and large it’s an up tempo LP as evidenced by second and third singles ‘Slipping Away’ and ‘Train’. Which isn’t to say though that this isn’t a diverse set of songs.

Much of the inspiration is drawn from the late 70s mainly from the post-punk scenes on both sides of the Atlantic with the occasional nod to white boy funk (such as on the HI-NRG indie dance of ‘All My Highs’).

What really makes the record though is that the tunes are strong throughout. So much so that it’s a difficult record to pick out highlights from.

In the interests of being slightly more specific though, the aforementioned ‘Train’ sounds like early Subway Sect transposed to the Big Apple of the late 70s whilst ‘Lost and Found’ boasts a slightly sinister OJ groove. Opening track ‘Patience Is A Virtue’ is slightly at odds with the rest of the record being the most sonically challenging tune its squally guitars soundtracking a bitter tale of a break-up.

If the pace of the record largely veers between the frantic and medium paced, there are a couple of exceptions. Their most recent single release ‘Around’ show off a more sensitive side to the band whilst LP closer ‘The Race’ is a more considered piece albeit with a couple of dramatic tempo changes thrown in.

As much as I’d loved ‘What’s It All About?’, I wasn’t sure quite sure what to expect from this record as ‘Slipping Away’ had washed over me a bit on its release. So in that context ‘The Cathode Ray’ is a bit of a surprise but a very welcome one indeed. One of the highlights of 2012 so far.

A live version of the most recent single:

Haven’t been able to find The physical release is available in Avalanche Records in Edinburgh and Love Music in Glasgow at least as well as online at CD Baby and CD Universe. It’s also available in download form from the usual places.