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Foreign Exchange: Cat Statues’ “Trappers/Palace”

I’ve lived in Japan for two-and-a-half years now, and though all sorts of aspects of this country feel less mysterious than they did when I fist stepped off the plane, I’m still drawn to foreign perspectives of this place I currently call home. I’m not just talking about the massive amount of “life in Japan” blogs dotting across the Internet – music created by non-Japanese folk can offer tiny glimpses into how an outsider reacts to this country, from the rural-life sounds of Magical Mistakes’ Kyushu to the lonely-night stroll of Cloudy Busey’s Osaka (where I live at the moment). Cat Statues, the project of Benjamin Landau, also lives in Osaka but is a bit harder to pin down on new song “Trappers/Palace.” The lyrics (available here) don’t make any specific mentions of anything one would instantly associate with life in Japan – yet the words are about conversation, a topic that is central to any to non-native living here.

More clear, though, is how good this song sounds – “Trappers/Palace” opens with slightly (very slightly) distorted guitars, hinting at a dreamy atmosphere. Yet then the drums kick in and the overall vibe turns into something more hazy, like walking around a smoky room that also happens to be rotating a bit. The vocals come through clear, like instructions (again, see lyrics). “Trappers/Palace” takes enough sonic turns – in particular, the back half of the song tightropes between slowed-down passages and a continued drive – to be a great listen for anyone. Yet for some, they might find something deeper to connect to. Listen here.