kennedy19 | wakefield, ma USA | 09/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 2003 I saw the film "Stone Reader," a documentary about the filmmaker's quest to find an obscure author whose only published novel had been forgotten, but whose prose so moved the filmmaker that he simply had to go on this quest. I feel something similar about the Katydids, who fell through the cracks for no particular reason, just one of those things. It is only in recent years that their early 90s albums, long out of print, have begun to find their way into used record shops and amazon.com sellers. This, their self-titled 1990 debut produced by Nick Lowe, is mighty good. Perhaps it got lost in the shuffle because there is nothing particularly outlandish or original about it; it's just a good guitar rock band with a charismatic female singer named, of all things, Susie Hug. The name makes you think of teenyboppers, but this is good, tasteful, intelligently written rock. (One of Susie's biggest fans is Fran Healy of the band Travis, who has recently produced her solo album. I think Susie's husband, ex-Katydid Adam Seymour, now plays with the Pretenders.) From the strong opener "Heavy Weather Traffic" with its amusing refrain "there's too much of everything," we are treated to an earful of pleasing guitar songs one after another. The melody of the wistful "Girl in a Jigsaw Puzzle" is dazzling, and after a few listens the sardonic song "King of the World" will be in your head forever more. The upbeat rocker "Dr. Rey" is a blast, and we close with one of the most moving pop songs I've heard in a long time, the unsentimental "Growing Old," which features half of its simple lines sung in japanese. Should you buy this album? Hell yes. Listen to it three or four times, and then treasure it for a lifetime. If you don't like it, please sell it again so someone else can have the pleasure."
An Overlooked Treat
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 07/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The debut from the Katydids is one of those wonderfully tuneful albums that slipped through the cracks. The sweet vocals of Susie Hug floated atop a batch of cleverly crafted pop tunes played with panache and produced by Nick Lowe. His typical new wave touch gave the band a bright sound and a jangly hook filled album. Imagine The Pretenders minus Chrissie Hynde's aggressiveness, or if "The Pretenders" had hewed closer to their cover of "Stop Your Sobbing" instead of "Tattooed Love Boys."
"Katydids" really is that good. There were at least three should have been hits here; "Dr Rey," "Girl In a Jigsaw Puzzle" and "Lights Out" (which was actually a single). The songs had hooks galore, and the typical 80's New Wave feel that Lowe was so perfect with. (Interesting note: Katydids bassist Adam Seymour eventually ended up playing with The Pretenders.) Maybe a little video exposure would have turned the trick, but not to be. Unfortunately, their follow-up lacked Nick Lowe's sparkle and the songs were less tight. The end result is that "The Katydids" is a minor gem, lost from 1990."
One of my favorite bands that never made it
Buckaroo | AZ | 08/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That the Katydids never became a commercial success is a shame. I have listened to this album at least once a month for the last two decades, and only stumbled across it because I worked in record store at the time and was fortunate enough to have walked away with the promo (I'm old enough to have sold vinyl, lol). The Katydids are pretty low key, but pop-likable in a similar way as 10,000 Maniacs and early REM. Suzie Hug's voice is dreamy and beautiful, and I must confess to having fallen in love with her, sight unseen, based upon that quality alone. Some of the guitar work on this album is simply spectacular, and this is one of those rare albums where almost every song is great.
I will agree with one previous review that the Katydid's other album (Shangri-La) is not as good, although, I would say it just misses the previous album's greatness. At least four out of the ten songs on that album have never left my playlist rotation. Whoever reads this review should definitely buy this amazing album at a price that is, well, practically free -- especially considering that it is now out of print and will be lost forever, like tears in the rain (apologies to Blade Runner)."