Print, Reviews March 25, 2019

Album Review: Trash Cat – Welcome To Trash City

by Kevin Johnston

Try not to say “quirky” when describing Trash Cat. Pixie cut quaffed singer/bandleader Mary Claxton wields a sassy ukulele, backed by her husband Brian, a beardy University jazz instructor, and funky, mohawked baritone saxophonist Hayden Farr. (Say what?) Throw in references to Eddie Murphy and Scooby Doo, titles like “Robot Girlfriend” and an intro that says “I am Trash, you are trash. This is trash. Let’s go,” and it pretty much seals the quirky deal.

But like all good art, Trash Cat’s debut Welcome To Trash City is inspired (Claxton claims most songs on the record are about cartoon characters), ambitious (eventually, the trio plan to have fully animated counter parts) and both challenges the norm and taps into territory more pretentious artists fear to tread. In this case: fun.

The unconventional power trio hail from Greeley, and despite the odd instrumentation and variable hairstyles, are seasoned musicians. Hilarious lyrics like “Let’s fly through space together forever – beep bop boop boop beep” (“Robot Girlfriend”) would fall flat without the legit, throaty backbone of Farr’s bari sax lines and Claxton’s schooled, airtight grooves.

The trio were, in fact, finalists in 2018’s BandWagon Battle Of The Bands and are, in a different configuration, the bassist, drummer and horn-section leader of The Burroughs. It’s possible Trash Cat learned how to throw a party from years of Burroughs performances, but it’s unquestionably a different hang than that of “Sweaty Greeley Soul.”

Key tracks “Full Time Lover,” with it’s Prince-like chorus “Ooh baby the things I would have done to you,” and the strat-funk fun of “LUMPS,” bring the party to life with a wink. “Let’s bump it to my lumps. I know I said I want you, but not like that,” Mary Claxon quips on the latter.

An instrumental bridge in “Connie” showcases Farr’s chops, while the intimacy of “When I’m Grown” contrasts the oddball “Heart Still Beating,” which asks: “Got a real hot body and a bunch of pets. Why won’t they call me? We could make out over a couple of steaks…”

Comfy alongside fringe notables like They Might Be Giants, Trash Cat keep the listener grinning throughout their loveable debut, reminding us that the best parties are weird, open and judgement-free: “Welcome to Trash City,” they say. “We all belong here. Yes. You do.”

Trash Cat play a special release party Thursday, March 28 INSIDE THE LAsER TAG ARENA at Chipper’s Lanes in Greeley (ticket price includes laser tag!) and at Pinball Jones on March 29th in Fort Collins.