Quad-City indie rock band The Multiple Cat is as curious and capricious as its feline namesake.
The band, actually a loose collective of musician satellites orbiting singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and band mastermind Patrick Stolley, has followed an unpredictable path of album releases and shows since its inception in 1995, charting his oscillating interests and musical jaunts.
Their latest record, appropriately titled as “The Return of the Multiple Cat,” is its first in 13 years and will be supported by a CD-release party Friday night at RIBCO. It will feature the latest incarnation of the band, with Stolley on guitar and vocals, Eric Stone on keyboards and guitar, Ben Crabb on bass and Ryan Collins on drums.
The band's evolution from inception to birth has been as random and alchemic as that of the three previous Cat releases.
“I started recording in 2009 and just did it as I had time,” said the Davenport-based Stolley, who likewise juggles production gigs for local acts, work at the internationally acclaimed music website daytrotter.com and family life with his wife Amy and three children, Ben, 17, Peter, 7, and Kate, 5.
“I would call (the sound of the new disc) art pop. I think that’s a good descriptor I find is accurate. The record is a very personal one for me. The lyrics have a lot to do with a lot of different big things I’ve been going through.”
Those personal issues have included the death of his mother in 2010 and father in 2011, and they certainly resonate throughout the lyrical content of the album. The music, an adventuresome and often-brilliant patina of indie pop, Brian Eno-ish soundscaping and melodic ‘60s jangle rock, is interwoven with introspective lyrical journeys, resulting in a complex and intriguing sonic trek.
“(Making the record) helped me during those times,” Stolley said of the cathartic nature of his creative process during the disc’s evolution. “I would turn back to it when I was thinking about lyrics and moods, not just in a negative way, but in a positive way, taking stock of things. It’s not just about (the deaths of his parents), but leading me back to thinking about my relatively normal life, having kids and a family and being a responsible person.
"The record isn’t all hard-hitting. I find myself matching darker lyrical content with a more upbeat sound, and when there’s something lighter lyrically, I tend to have more of a darker sound to keep that dichotomy there.”
As for whether there will be another Multiple Cat album, and whether listeners will have to wait another 13 years to hear it, Stolley is predictably vague on the prospect.
“It could be next year, it could be never,” he said with a laugh. “I’m writing stuff right now and writing for other projects and producing other bands, and that takes up a lot of time, so I never know. I guess there will be another Multiple Cat record sooner or later. It’s really just a matter of time.”