Catpaws (Nine Mile Records)
Reviewed by Libby Webster, Fri., Feb. 8, 2019
On Catpaws, local fivepiece A. Sinclair cranks up the guitar amps to full volume – finally. Recorded in short sessions over a year and a half with a rotating cast of backing musicians, the band's third LP skitters with the same anxiety of earlier writing, but with a harder edge and newfound intensity. Here, Aaron Sinclair's songs careen forward with white-hot momentum, his sharpest songwriting yet. The frenzied "Bananas" finds the frontman howling, his words nearly indiscernible over a skuzz of angry guitars. "In the Beginning" and the grungy "Out of My Mind" crib from early-Nineties rock in the jagged veins of Built to Spill and Sebadoh. Going for a quieter tension, the grooving "All I Wanna Do" pits Sinclair against a chorus of Sixties vocal groups. Instrumental closer "Just Remind Me Again" courts wistfulness that culminates in quick, detuned deflation. As such, Catpaws comes in roaring, but goes out with a sigh.