The Cat Empire are one of Melbourne and Australia’s most beloved bands, but you already knew that.

What you may not know is that today marks the 20th anniversary of their seminal self-titled debut album, which released all the way back in 2003. The Cat Empire – the album – featured some of the band’s most iconic songs such as “Hello”, “The Chariot”, and “Days Like These”, ones that are still considered classics 20 years on.

Recorded in Melbourne and Byron Bay while they were touring at the time, The Cat Empire were later recognised for their efforts and received several nominations at the 2004 ARIA Awards, including for Best Group, Best Urban Album, and Breakthrough Artist – Album.

The Cat Empire’s debut album may have only peaked at number 15 on the ARIA Albums Chart, but it went onto become certified 3x Platinum.

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The Cat Empire released many other equally well-received albums between 2003 and 2019, and have continued to soar in 2023 with a refreshed ensemble. The band entered their new era with the release of new album Where the Angels Fall earlier this year.

The new Cat Empire lineup put OG members Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill in a new ensemble alongside some expert musicians including Seychelles singer Grace Barbe, Cuban-born trumpeter Lazaro Numa, and the band’s close friend Neda Rahmani.

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With a total of 75 performing artists and 49 instruments used, Where the Angels Fall has the largest number of performing artists on any Cat Empire album. Across its 14 tracks, almost every genre and style you can think of is tried, from flamenco to West African, reggae to New Orleans jazz.

And to celebrate their newly released ninth studio album, the band toured around the East Coast in September and October, impressing crowds in Sydney, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Adelaide, and Melbourne.

24 years on from their official formation, The Cat Empire are still very much in full force.

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