They’re six cool cats from Melbourne, Australia who felt adventurous enough to travel beyond the beaches Down Under for their sophomore release as The Cat Empire. Havana, Cuba is the birthplace of Two Shoes – recorded at the famed Estudio Egrem and produced by Jerry Boys ( Buena Vista SocialClub).
Two Shoes is a slightly more Latin-esque collection than their multi-platinum first, but it still sizzles in the ska, reggae and gypsy-soul sounds that made Cat Empire kings back home. The first track, “Sly” is a wild ride between the Blues Brothers and Sam the Sham’s “Wooly Bully”. Their Empire Horns (trumpet, trombone and sax) bring you to your feet with their catalystic beat while the funked-out organ is the perfect chaser to this Mojito.
The title track is where the Latin and Reggae world meet as one, while acknowledging the band’s personal hero: (“Cos on my feet are shoes for dancing/Dancing to be free/My feet they’re paying tribute to/The Bobby Marley legacy”). Hearing the serenade of horns while singing along to the chorus, one can imagine themselves in the streets of Havana club-hopping from one jazz lounge to another with the scent of cigars lingering late into the night. Two Shoes follows the footsteps of The Cat Empire’s highly successful debut album, only this time landing on Cuban soil, yet they seem perfectly at home.