What’s New, Pussy Cat?
With this week’s release of Pussy Cats Starring the Walkmen, the New York warble rockers have breathed new life into Harry Nilsson’s 1974 original Pussy Cats, an odd album produced by John Lennon in the midst of his “lost weekend” debauchery. The Walkmen faithfully and completely re-create the pop gem, a bewildering mix of classics and originals recorded while Lennon and his drinking buddy Nilsson were tearing through L.A.’s bar scene.
The release also reanimates an almost-forgotten strand of creative gimmickry: the full-length cover. Past reimaginings have run the gamut from genre makeovers (Booker T. & The MGs’ McElmore Avenue was a funky Abbey Road) to hipster novelties (Pussy Galore’s Exile on Main Street, a cassette-only limited edition) to theatrical nerdiness (Rufus Wainwright’s recent restaging of Judy Garland’s classic 1961 Carnegie Hall performance). Some hit and some miss, but that’s no reason to give up on the genre all together. Now the Walkmen have us thinking about some other bands we’d like to see paired with classic LPs.