The music of Katy Mae is evocative in a fundamentally personal way, for it is music that defies easy definition. Their songs evoke places and sounds in a sensory, intimate way; like returning to a town last visited years ago, it is familiar yet different. Katy Mae's music has a rural sound, the sound of the countryside, the sound of 'up-state'. It is created by musicians who grew-up outside of the big cities, but with a deep love of an eclectic range of music; from the classic rock bands of the 70's, to Wilco, Buddy Holly, R.E.M, The Byrds and The Who. They are musicians with a true sense of place, but whose influences are broader than that place they are from.
What grips the listener is the raw honesty of this EP. It is live, visceral, basic and intimate; powerful and even sometimes brutal. The soaring, emotionally stained vocals of Philip Doucet have a deeply passionate appeal that meld with the powerful cord riffs and pounding rhythms of the band. Words and phases are almost subliminal, building a virtual landscape through sound.
Katy Mae is a band that likes to build. On tracks such as 'Dust of My Friends', the band introduce basic rhythms and simple cord sequences that they then repeat and multiply, building layer upon layer, before introducing melodies and syncopated rhythms to broaden and expand the sound even further.
'Falls Down' starts with such a simple cord sequence that it lulls us into a false sense of security - a quiet simple track to follow the opening track's big sound. Yet it is a charade, for after it's humble beginning, the track builds with crescendo upon crescendo before falling back into the narrative of the lyrics - a musical pause for breath before building onto even greater heights.
'Let Me Bring You Down' has an almost punk-rock simplicity. Frenetic and lively, you can imagine hearing it as the last song of an energetic set. A song to be played when the last vestiges of restraint have gone out of the window, when the audience is free from all inhibitions and in a state of 'rock'uphoria'.
'Two Dollars Late' starts with a welcome return to a slower, deep rock track, utilizing blues riffs with plenty of bends.
Truly epic cords from backing rhythm guitar and pounding bell ride from Mark Levy on drums build up to on a 70's rock track reminiscent of early Thin Lizzy.
The raw guitar picking of 'You May Already Be A Winner' builds from the outset and is a well deserved title track .
The anthem'esque overture gives way to reverbing rhythms and more driving guitars - courtesy of the band's newest member, Hans Gutknecht - bridging into a slow, feedback-orientated mid section before finally returning to the driving verse and a cliff-hanging ending worthy of an episode of LOST.
The music industry loves to create genres; rock, country, punk, grunge, garage, pop, techno, jangle pop; all terms created to define subdivisions within a long list of endless derivatives.
Katy Mae's biggest appeal is that they need no genre, no plot of land to call their own; they play good old fashioned rock and roll; created by musicians, for musicians, and for those with a simple love of a great tune. "You May Already Be a Winner" will be listened to by those who know a good thing when they hear it, and they won't need a reason why.