Artiste:- Cat Mayel
Record Label:- Independent
Distributed By:- Soundcloud
Guest Appearances:- NIL
Producers:- Ditweni, Charlie X, Sabre
Release Date:- January 4th 2016
Alternative Soul singer Cat Mayel first came to my attention as a featured guest on Trip, a collaborative effort with super lyricist Boogey on his most recent and highly rated project Irregularly Scheduled Programme, and she delivered a performance on the song that struck me, and stood out as one of the best guest appearances on the project, but little did I know she had more in store. On the 4th day of 2016, she delivered a 6-track EP project titled Exhale which was assisted and laced with production by Charlie X, Ditweni and Sabre.
She settles right to business on the first song What You Doing, a mellow keyboard-driven song which ia a deft combination of 90’s R&B and dance music on which she poured her heart out to her love interest, lamenting his insensitivity and lack of response to her love-stimulus, it’s a song where the producer let her shine and she reciprocated his favour by singing two verses in-between two reverberating sonic sequences.A very clear and strong musical symbiosis which worked very well for the song was evident between her and the producer and opened the EP up on a strong note. The lamentations of love continue on the next song Mr Hell, a dark , gloomy tale of dejection and heartbreak on which she sings “How did I ? How did I How did I get so weak ? / Somehow I let you take control of me / It’s amazing how foolish you made me” , It’s a heartfelt song and I could clearly hear the pain in her voice as she sang “I cannot take this pain no more” ; Anybody who has ever been a victim of love will relate to this track.
The next song That Awkward Moment is a romantic ballad that explores that very instant when sparks fly between two people of the opposite sex, her being the subject in this case, she wears the vulnerability that comes with love on her sleeve and is not afraid to talk about falling helplessly for her love interest, yet trying hard to guard her emotions. Her tone on the song was sombre and mellow, almost as if she was whispering to me, a feeling that suit the song just fine and made it even more poignant. On the next song, an electro-pop inspired track Running Out Of Time, her lyrics sounded muddled up and I couldn’t make out some phrases ( that rarely happens and I’ll put it down to a poor mixing and mastering job). It did not appeal to my musical sensibilities and maybe should have been left out of the project altogether, however she returns to her form on I’m A Mess, a song on which she embraced her imperfections and crooned “My life’s a mess, I must confess” , and while it sounded like a tongue-in-cheek statement, there was something striking and honest to me about an artiste ( in Nigeria ) writing and performing the lyrics on this song.The EP ends with a ballad of hope and a promise of a brighter and better future on Another Day, on which she sings about the lingering memories of the tumultuous past of bad relationships, along with a reassurance that tomorrow hold bigger romantic opportunities and situations.
This album is an introduction into the world of the singer known as Cat Mayel and is bound to leave a good impression on any listener, her brand of alternative soul, R&B, pop and blues is refreshing, promising and adventurous, while she has a lot of work to do on her vocal delivery and her cadence, she already has her lane mapped out for her and has made a bold statement with Exhale, it’s a 6-track cocktail of emotions which comprises of love, heartbreak, romance, and more heartbreak, I enjoyed listening to it, the production is commendable, and Cat Mayel can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that she has taken the first step in pursuing her musical amitions with this project.
Composition/Arrangement:- 7 /10
Best Verse:- Mr Hell Verse 2
Standout Track:- What You Doing ?
Overall Rating:- 6/10