“Filling The Void” is an album that defines the core of alternative and psychedelic in my honest opinion. It ventures out from the ordinary nay, it traverses past wild and weird and does so in experimental beauty. The 16 tracks break away from what most of would consider conventional mainstream music, from the vocals to the vast variety of instruments employed. It’s like a kaleidoscope dream when the eyes are shut and the imagination is free to run wild if you’ll let it. McGinely & Cats is one of those musical projects that burrow their way into your very consciousness with their sort of primal musings.
It doesn’t matter that the vocals and melodies are challenging and/or indecipherable at times, or that they occasionally lapse into extended trips that are probably better enjoyed with mind-altering substances, McGinely & Cats seem to capture many of those intangibles that make you love music outright. Guitars throb, electronics shimmer, drums pound and skitter, voices shriek and warble, and yet, for all its oddness, it’s still accessible. When they create a song the ultimate goal is to create a mood.
Abstract but full of punchy rhythms and stirring choruses, “Filling The Void” is a towering achievement of art, a world of creation that stands on its own and draws you into its infectious realms with its promise of opening your eyes, mind, body, and soul to a completely new musical dimension.
A dimension that keeps you guessing and debating as to what precisely is coming into your ears. It is comforting, troubling, securing, anxious, and heartwarming, all at the same time. The best advice is to quit trying to classify it and just run with it.
“The Lemmings Fall”, “The physicians nemesis”, and “Think of me” are sugary, energetic romps that immediately tap into the carefree blissfulness of my nostalgia. “Folding in, breathing out”, “Filling the void” and “Young hearts” are variations on my favorite McGinely & Cats stylistic approaches: brooding, slightly melancholy meanderings that develop slowly but resound with an unspeakable pastoral beauty.
“The family ghost” is similar to begin with, but eventually gains more momentum and energy; it’s a fantastic song, but more difficult to categorize. But there is so much to digest and decipher here.
The standouts for me, without a doubt are “The Lemmings Fall”, “Tiger Bay”, “Sparkling jewel in the twilight” and “Your Embrace”, if only because they’re seemingly more accessible and tuneful on the first listen. When Jo McGinely puts his mind to it, he reaches blistering levels of achievement.
Jo seems to create with untrammeled imagination, not acknowledging boundaries, and not worried about consequences. But through it all, the music is coherent, purposeful, and pulsing. Before you pick this one up, remember to keep a very open mind to what you’ll hear.
The album was created during a difficult time in the writer’s life. A time when depended-upon relationships wilted and withered away. A time when Jo McGinely found solace in music and in the friendship and collaboration with Cats (Katie Katt). It was a time when he began “Filling The Void”.