Described by the artist as a ‘dreamy ode to individuality’, Alpha Cat’s Mockingbird comes swirling into view via guitar strums and twangs with a healthy dose of delay and reverb.
A mixture of careful, clean picking (that sounds like they may have got Trevor Rabin in for the session) and more florid lines merge to create a backdrop for the double-tracked vocals and robust snare, which cracks its way through the track.
The little shuffles and stutters on the rest of the kit warm a path through a story that warns the object of the song to ‘be yourself or be loved’. Not necessarily attractive choices in these terms, but this line cuts to the heart of the matter. The insistent melody that accompanies the line digs into your ears, deliberately choosing to hang on slightly discordant notes that don’t change when or where you expect them to. It’s a clever device that makes the song as contrary as an attitude that implies you should remain true to yourself, irrespective of the cost.
Some attractive harmonies pour sugar on the melody in all the right places, but the vicious tuning that’s been put on to the vocal also creates an otherworldly, fluttering quality to proceedings, which adds to the dreamy feel. The delivery of all of the lines is very precise and meticulous – the word endings are clearly rounded out (unusually so) and this really draws the listener in.
I’m reminded of the quality and spirit of Joni Mitchell throughout certain phrases of Mockingbird, and I’d like to think that Alpha Cat would approve of such a comparison – as she’s something of an ‘alpha cat’ herself. A very clever song, with memorable lyrics and a very deliberate production.