Picks and Pans Review: The Cat Empire

UPDATED 03/05/2007 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/05/2007 at 01:00 AM EST

Two Shoes

After a hit debut in their native Australia, this energetic Melbourne six-piece combo hits the States with Two Shoes, a magnetic amalgam of funk, soul, ska and frat-party raucousness. While the album doesn't quite match the fever pitch of their live performances, Two Shoes trumpets the band's arrival with Harry Angus's blaring horn on the irresistible opener "Sly," on which vocalist/percussionist Felix Riebl sings, "Why, it's a pleasure to meet you/You look like one incredible creature." Riebl alternates lead vocals with Angus throughout, but the group fares better with the former at the helm. Angus's heavy, high-pitched accent often feels cartoonish, particularly on the otherwise catchy "The Car Song."

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