Guitarist for hire and an occasional member of the Sisters Of Mercy, Chris Catalyst is probably best known as the driving force behind the eclectic Eureka Machines. Life Is Often Brilliant, his first solo album, examines the cultural and personal wreckage that was 2016. And, judging by the results, he wasn’t the only one who barely got out alive.
As lamentable as heartbreak and recrimination are, they make for excellent fodder for the singer-songwriter who can create musical redemption on a ringing guitar chord and a sparkling pop tune. Catalyst may be ruing the one who got away, but he’s putting his pain to work in a slew of bombastic, brightly hued tunes like the wonderful Far which references both Super Furry Animals and Honeycrack, while the rattling Cracking Up touches the hem of Britpop’s garment, sounding like Blur if their songs had been arranged by the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield.