Cougar Bait Plans For Big Year With New Album
Pulse Magazine | Album Review | 03-03-15
If there’s ever been a band that is primed and ready to break, Cougar Bait is it. Hot off the heels of being voted 2014’s Best Electronic Act at the Worcester Music Awards, Cougar Bait has just released its debut album, Through The Other Side, and has a homecoming show with Sophistafunk at Electric Haze in Worcester on March 13. But how have the members of Cougar Bait managed to separate themselves from the pack? With a very unique and eclectic mix of music genres blended together to create a memorable new offering.
Despite the tongue-in-cheek name, Cougar Bait is a band of young talent that has serious aspirations. Started as a “fun little hard rock project” in high school by lead vocalist and guitarist Sean Sullivan, the group really started to come together in 2010, when drummer Chris Tsinidis picked up the sticks, and eventually came to be the power trio that it is today with the addition of bassist Jamie McCarthy in 2013. During that course of time, Cougar Bait’s sound slowly evolved from a rock- and groove-oriented strut into the electronic/rock hybrid that it is today.
“Our sound transformed into a more electronic-based band when we noticed many bands using synths and samples to add to their sound,” Tsinidis said. “We bought sample pads and synths as time went on. Now we are a livetronica band.” “Our sound certainly changed a lot in the last few years,” Sullivan added. “When I go out to clubs, I go to dance, but all of the nightclubs are filled with guys clicking ‘play’ on a laptop. We wanted to accomplish that sound through the live performance of real instruments.”
That popular sound can be heard on Through The Other Side. Recorded at three different studios over the course of a year, including VibeHouse Studios in Fitchburg, Through The Other Side is a strong calling card for Cougar Bait.
“We felt it was time to record when people started asking us for CDs at shows and we didn’t have any to sell,” Tsinidis said.
By blending elements of dubstep and dancehall with a rock-centric backbone on Through The Other Side, the members of Cougar Bait were able to give the tracks a unique appeal. There are indeed synth bops and flourishes from beginning to end, and intricate proggy interludes, such as those on “Break Through,” add a nice, unpredictable edge. The straight dance and trancelike hypnotism of “Booty On The Dance Floor” features Worcester native and R&B singer Geli on vocals. The many female vocalists featured heavily on the album give it a balanced delivery, allowing it to appeal to both guys and girls alike. “I think too many bands try to emulate their favorite band’s sound rather than create something new,” Sullivan said. “Oftentimes, we will take something like a house baseline, add a hip-hop beat you get on a Dr. Dre album, and throw a Muse-esque guitar solo over it. I think it helps a larger audience identify with what we’re doing, since we draw from all these different places.”
Of course, recording a debut album can be a daunting task for any band, but especially for one such as Cougar Bait, given its electric favoritism, an element that can be hard to replicate live in a club.
“For those who haven’t seen us live, we perform in the style of a DJ set, meaning once the music starts, we don’t stop until the show is over,” Sullivan explained. “So when it came time to record the songs and decide on a specific structure, we had a lot of decisions to make on the orchestration.”
“On the other hand, the possibilities are endless,” Tsinidis added. “Making new sounds in new music is one of the best parts of being a musician.”
Cougar Bait’s new music will be on full display come March 13, when the guys perform at Electric Haze.
“That show will be killer,” Sullivan said. “We look forward to hitting the road in the festival circuit hard this summer.”
Having already played The Middle East in Boston and the Roots and Rock Music Festival, the trio from Worcester knows how to get down. And, with a strong new record to back them up, 2015 is set to be their best year yet.
By Jason Savio
Through the Other Side
The Noise Magazine | Album Review | 12-03-14
Cougar Bait has returned with a new electronic sound and a different lineup. I’m a little new to this genre, but I’ve become a big fan of performers like Daft Punk and DedMau5, and given some time, I can see Cougar Bait opening for them. They’ve got an amorphous sound that doesn’t stick to one arrangement with a few small changes in each song—the music shifts from fast-paced club styles in “Booty on the Dance Floor” to the more chilled out “Break Through.” The synthesizer tones blend well with the guitar (Sean Sullivan) and bass (Jamie McCarthy), which offer some impressive solos throughout the album, and CT Lucious kills it on the drums. Geli, a Worcester-based artist, supplies the vocals for a few of the songs, and the result is a great blend of tunes and voice work. She’s really impressed me with her efforts on this album, and I’ll be sure to give her music a listen. I feel like there is some room for improvement on this one, but in all, it’s a solid opener from this revamped band. (Max Bowen)