Kitten, ‘Cut It Out’ – Album Review
Glam pop is a strange solar system. You’ve got the angered affections of Blondie on one end and the triumphant tremolos of M83 on the other, forming a glittery galaxy of the beautiful and the odd. ‘Cut It Out’ marks the arrival of a new planet (or possibly planetoid) called Kitten — a Los Angeles band fronted by starlet-on-the-make Chloe Chaidez.
Only 17, the prodigal chanteuse has music in her veins, you could say. She’s been urged along by her father, Mike, who played in Thee Undertakers, a band from the early-’80s East L.A. punk scene, the same badass SoCal ecosystem that gave rise to Black Flag. But rather than roar, Kitten mostly purrs, making music more delicate than dangerous.
The EP opens with ‘Cut It Out,’ an homage to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Choppy beats, clipped guitar lines and heavy breaths open into a sugary chorus, where Chaidez unleashes a stream of angsty teen consciousness — “Let me breathe,” “You’re all I need” — that’s as catchy as it is predictable. Much more interesting than the lyrics are those vocals, as Chaidez lifts into flight during the chorus. The mood falls off in the second track, the possibly non-PC titled ‘Japanese Eyes,’ three quick minutes of semi-aggression that fail to make an impression. Chaidez, it seems, needs more of a slower pace to showcase her talents.
The standout, then, is ‘G#,’ an ethereal stadium-filler that finds Chaidez channeling Florence + the Machine and the group delivering riotous rapture and oversized instrumentation. Sometimes it gets to be a bit much, as on ‘Sugar,’ whose half-rhymed line “These left-hand scars / Taste of sugar in the dark,” is silly enough to come off as adorable. The galactic gloss returns for the uptempo ‘Junk,’ Chaidez putting on her most effective scowl. The EP closes with ‘Christina,’ a velvety ballad that stands in contrast to the pop-hook maximalism of the other tracks.
Though they haven’t broken new ground, Kitten show tremendous promise with the EP. Perhaps just as importantly, they reveal how promotable they are, pushing a sound that’s equally suited to basement bars and outdoor festivals. Thanks to their charismatic frontwoman and gift for making epic music, this cat could be headed for a big future — if they grow up a little.