Track-by-Track: Cat Ryan Debut With a Sweet Heat in ‘King of the World,’ Their Fun & Frisky Debut EP

Cat Ryan © Will Copley
Cat Ryan © Will Copley
Newcastle newcomers Cat Ryan take us track-by-track through their sweetly seductive debut EP ‘King of the World,’ a fun and frisky indie pop record whose bright beats and dreamy, summery tones will have listeners smiling from ear to ear.
for fans of Vampire Weekend, Hippo Campus, Alvvays
Stream: “Rex Mundi” – Cat Ryan

It’s hard not to feel like the king of the world while listening to Cat Ryan’s debut EP.

The Newcastle four-piece get us moving, grooving, and smiling from ear to ear with their bright tones, bold melodies, and effusive beats. Every song is another enchanting, immersive opportunity to sing and dance along, and whether you’re the kind of listener who picks lyrics apart line by line, or the kind who prefers to get drowned in sound, Cat Ryan have a little something for everyone. Fun, frisky, and sweetly seductive, the five-track King of the World is a radiant introduction to an exciting new indie pop band here to uplift and inspire, enchant and empower all who tune in to their dreamy reverie.

King of the World - Cat Ryan
King of the World – Cat Ryan
A greyhound racer is a thing to be
You risk your money with a bet on me
A hare in my face how can I see
I′m running so fast I feel like I’m the
King of the world, I′m Rex Mundi
I’m made to wear a muzzle but I can still speak
Talk talk but you still don’t see
I′m running away ′cause you’re cruel to me

There’s something innately freeing about these songs; it’s as if Cat Ryan have unlocked some sort of secret to the good life, but the catch is, they can only share it through music. Independently released December 15, 2023, King of the World is the invigorating, exhilarating answer to a question we didn’t know needed asking.

Comprised today of lead singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mary-Anne Murphy alongside Dan Wright, Jake Waller, and Charlie Radford, Cat Ryan have been working on a unique brand of dreamy, shoegaze-inflected indie pop for four long years now. The band’s debut single “Mannerism” tragically released on March 4, 2020; a song so bubbly and full of connective, exuberant energy, it came to life in a world that was in the process of shutting down.

But that did little to deter Cat Ryan, who continued to tease music throughout that year, all the while honing their craft behind the scenes. To its credit, “Mannerism” now sits at half a million streams, making it the group’s most popular release – and it is out of this strong, solid foundation that they became the buoyant band they are today.

“Our sound is a fusion of vibrant melodies, infectious hooks, and musical experimentation inspired by a blend of indie pop, shoegaze, and folk,” Cat Ryan’s frontwoman Mary-Anne Murphy tells Atwood Magazine. “I always gravitate towards creating a strong melody that’s often quite fiddly and has a happy Irish folk feel to it. I come from a background in Irish traditional music, playing the banjo primarily, so I think that has subconsciously wormed its way into our sound. When I’m songwriting, I often find myself incorporating storytelling into the songs to create a musical landscape that resonates on a deeper level than just the music and tells a narrative that people can follow.”

Cat Ryan have burst through the gates with a sonic palette similar to (but still very distinct from) bands like Vampire Weekend, Hippo Campus, The Shins, and Phoenix. Their buoyant guitars and glistening keys – not to mention Murphy’s punchy, passionate voice – seem to channel the very rays of the sun, exuding a sweet heat that can best be described as a “feel-good energy.”

“It’s capturing the essence of our signature style while showcasing a broader range of emotions and musical experimentation,” Murphy says of the EP. “But it also showcases our diverse brand of indie pop, cementing our foundation in the music scene and hinting at what’s to come, because this is just the start!”

Cat Ryan © Will Copley
Cat Ryan © Will Copley


While King of the World is a refreshingly bright and energizing listen, the record itself is a long time coming – some of its songs date back to Murphy’s teenage years.

For Murphy and her bandmates, these five tracks are themselves indicative of just how far Cat Ryan has come in a few short years; she considers it an introduction to their evolution together as a band. Meanwhile, for us as their audience, these songs make for an instantly memorable – and thoroughly enjoyable – listening experience.

“This EP is deeply personal as it features some of the earliest songs I wrote for the project back when I was 17 or 18,” Murphy explains. “The songs underwent evolution over the years, reflecting the diverse essence of our style whilst still reflecting the origins of our sound.”

“Our vision was to showcase our variation and capture our evolved sound that defines us now,” she adds. “We also wanted to form a more cohesive narrative between the songs that reflects our growth as artists. Throughout the recording process, the aim remained to preserve the authenticity of the original songs while adding new layers and further depth to the compositions.”

She candidly describes this EP as vibrant, dynamic, and evocative.

The title draws inspiration from the leading track ‘Rex Mundi,’ which translates to ‘King of the World’ from Latin,” Murphy explains. “The title encapsulates the EP’s theme of empowerment and liberation from constraints, symbolised by the greyhound’s pursuit of freedom. It’s actually inspired by our real-life greyhound friend called Rex Mundi who lives in Ireland. He’s kind of become the face of Cat Ryan recently!”

Cat Ryan © Will Copley
Cat Ryan © Will Copley


Highlights abound on the thirteen-minute journey from “Speeding Too Slow” to “Daydream.” Sun-kissed title track “Rex Mundi” is a definitive standout, its bustling groove as infectious as the dreamy topline melody shared by both the vocals and guitars.

“‘Rex Mundi’ reflects our lyrical storytelling style and embodies an energetic narrative told from the perspective of a greyhound trying to break free from his constraints,” Murphy adds. The fast-paced nature of the music was intended to reflect the essence of Rex Mundi the greyhound.”

“I think my favourite lyric is in Rex Mundi where it says, ‘A hare in my face, how can I see?’ she adds. “It’s a reference to greyhound racing, where they get the dogs to chase the mechanical hare around the track. It’s supposed to symbolise being controlled by society and politics and not being allowed to express yourself or make your own choices. Before you read the lyrics you might think it says ‘hair’ so it kind of has a double meaning, but still implies being blinded or constrained.”

Murphy cites that song and the EP’s jumpy, spirited opener “Speeding Too Slow” as her two current favorites. “I think they showcase our individuality the best, and they’re also just really fun to perform with both being quite jaunty and upbeat!”

From dazzling vocal performances to the full band’s spirited instrumental work and beyond, King of the World proves a rich, warm, and smile-inducing journey.

“For us, releasing this EP is like sharing a piece of our evolving journey,” Murphy shares, “and we want to invite listeners into our world and allow them to explore their own emotions and stories through the diverse sounds and narratives within the music.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Cat Ryan’s captivating King of the World EP with Atwood Magazine as Mary-Anne Murphy takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of the band’s golden-hued debut EP!

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:: stream/purchase King of the World here ::
:: connect with Cat Ryan here ::
Stream: ‘King of the World’ – Cat Ryan

:: Inside King of the World ::

King of the World - Cat Ryan

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Speeding Too Slow

This song delves into the complexities of timing in relationships and being stuck in a loop of missed chances, but leaving a glimmer of hope for reconciliation. The playful rhythm and blend of instruments emphasise the irony of being “too little, too late,” adding a vibrant energy to the storytelling.

Rex Mundi

Our vibrant lead single captures the perspective of a greyhound striving for liberation, symbolising the pursuit of personal freedom. The track’s fast-paced nature embodies the essence of ‘king of the world,’ aligning with the EP’s recurring theme of breaking free from constraints.


Originally an experimental piece, its inclusion in the EP adds a mysterious and intriguing break within the narrative, serving as an instrumental interlude.

Lost My Connection

Detailing the constraints of long-distance relationships, this track explores the breakdown of digital connections amidst the modern age. Its juxtaposition of uplifting melodies with the underlying sadness mirrors the desire to find hope despite relationship hurdles.


Delving into intense themes of love and personal insecurities within relationships, this track offers a mellower sound with emotionally resonant tones. Its variety of melodies and shoe-gaze-influenced sounds encapsulate the complexities of love whilst being stuck in prison of self-doubt.

— —

:: stream/purchase King of the World here ::
:: connect with Cat Ryan here ::

— — — —

King of the World - Cat Ryan

Connect to Cat Ryan on
Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram
Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Will Copley
art © Bethan Harris

:: Stream Cat Ryan ::

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