Fantasy Rainbow - Demo #1

You would be forgiven for thinking that Fantasy Rainbow was a wonderful setting for a mid-afternoon children’s television show involving unicorns and enormous hills made out of ice cream, dotted with chocolate flakes and sprinkles. After all, it’s far too light-hearted a name for anything serious like, say, a musician.

However, this was exactly the objective of 18 year old Oliver Catt, formerly of Knights, Only Animals and Beach Break: A light hearted project that wasn’t to be taken too seriously, either internally or externally. Therein lies the beauty of this rare solo project. The songs are not directed at, or aiming to please anyone in particular. It seems, to an outsider, that they weren’t written for anyone else other than Catt himself. That much is clear from the EP’s title “Demo #1” - Not aiming to please anyone with a fancy title, this is a project. This collection of four songs is just… a lot of fun. 

Running your eyes briefly down the track list, a few double takes may be necessary. The opening song is entitled Snaggle Tooth, once again an image perhaps associated with a child’s bedtime story. However, these analogies stop here. The moment you press play, it becomes crystal clear that this is no joke. 

This EP works so well because, in not taking himself too seriously, Catt has created an environment in which he can make the music he clearly enjoys making. The word “fun” once again crops to mind, not to belittle his efforts. Musically, this collection of songs is truly wonderful, with happy-go-lucky guitar riffs ringing in your ear that one could imagine Little Red Riding Hood skipping along through the woods to. 

Dark Heart follows Snaggle Tooth’s sublime beginning as a very chilled-out, relaxed and surprisingly uplifting tune, despite it’s more pessimistic title and lyrics. A common theme, lyrically, appears to be a frustration with love and the opposite sex compared with the pile of forgotten singer-songwriters who can’t help but sing about their broken heart. Catt sings “Too many nights spent worrying about you//Too many nights spent thinking it through”, a perspective that will ring true in most people’s ears. The EP is filled with lyrics of classic teenage angst and occasional despair, almost the musical version of Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.

Extra Pleasant begins with a drum beat that may catch you out as slightly RnB-esque before the comforting, complimentary tones of Catt’s vocals and guitar join in. This track is the shortest of the EP and seems to fly by, but it is a welcome respite before the masterpiece that follows.

Cynic, critic, be what I may, but I certainly don’t throw the M-word around loosely or without conviction. Take Me To A Birch Tree takes every teenage angst-ridden, desperate, terrified and worried emotion and bundles them together into almost six minutes of brilliance. The song begins slowly, fearfully, and builds, faster and faster, stronger and stronger into an emotional mammoth of a crescendo as Catt repeats the lines “Take me for a ride//Take me for a//Take me for a ride//To the city lights”, as eager for escape and change as any teen. This track never bores despite it’s lengthy nature and is one that would happily sit on repeat for hours. It ends as rapidly as it began, and the EP has finished. Before you have even begun, it seems.

Tiny Lights Recordings, a new independent record label based in Newcastle, UK, have unearthed a diamond in signing Fantasy Rainbow. Credit must also be given to Jonathan Coddington and Jack Laidlaw who mixed and mastered this release respectively. The next EP, thematically namedTeens, is due to be released on August 15th and can be pre-ordered here. Having received plenty of airtime on national and regional radio in the past week or so, this is a project to keep your eyes on.

The Bedroom EP’s rating of Fantasy Rainbow’s Demo #1 - 8/10

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