"Love Song," by the Cure, is a great tune. And its almost as good when rearranged slightly to become "Devil," the opener of Cat-A-Tac's eponymous debut EP (whose release will be celebrated on October 21 at the Walnut Room). In fact, most of the disc's five cuts are comfortably derivative in their own way: "Gloom" is steeped in the languorous jangle of vintage Versus, while "Dreamer" possesses Red House Painters' plodding majesty. "Scenes," on the other hand, is a twangy dirge marred by flat lyrics and some Novocain-soaked vocals -- except for when guest singer Patty Holland of Januar steps up and makes like Neko Case all over the mike. "Pills" sits square in the middle of the set, and it aptly displays the group's pussyfooting between humble indie pop and shoegazer enormity. Diffidence aside, though, this disc's melody and soul are undeniable; with some distilling -- and a more thorough digestion of its influences -- Cat-A-Tac should be right on track.


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