Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"I'm just trying to be sensible."

KITTEN lead singer, Chloe Chaidez | via

I've been a fan of LA-based, Orange County-bred Kitten for a little over a year. After the release of their Like a Stranger EP, I devoured all of their music like the intoxicating drug it is. Chloe Chaidez is an animal, like a feral kitten with energy and spit, but a soft and cuddly side that sneaks up on you when you're passed out on the couch. All of that just spills out into her music, and KITTEN -- the band's eagerly anticipated, full-length, self-titled LP -- is the epitome of all that energy and Chloe's electro-punk hybrid musical vision.

For longtime fans, they'll first notice that a handful of songs on the record were featured on previously released EPs:

#1 "Like a Stranger", #4 "I'll Be Your Girl" and #9 "Doubt" on LIKE A STRANGER
#6 "G#" and #10 "Cut It Out" on CUT IT OUT
and #11 "Kill the Light" on SUNDAY SCHOOL

All of the above songs are so phenomenal, and in my opinion, very representative additions to KITTEN that best show off the band's unique and killer musicality (my only suggested fix would have been to swap "I'll Be Your Girl" with "Japanese Eyes"... but that's trivial.)  Some of these fans may be disappointed that nearly half the album isn't "new to them"... but I think this album is more for the uninitiated than for the long-time fanatics.  Which is one of the reasons I'm reviewing it here on Through the Reels.  

Before examining the new songs, though, I will say that all the previously released music is the same as it was on the EP recordings -- with the exception of "Kill the Light" (my all-time favorite track), which has been given a bit of an electro-makeover. The SUNDAY SCHOOL version still takes the cake, in my opinion, but I can't help but get giddy hearing the updated track. The only thing that could beat it is Chloe's acoustic version in concert.

KITTEN self-titled debut album
Now, onto the new tracks:

#2 "Sensible": There is a pulse to this song that is just electric. Chloe's vocals are a myriad of smooth and seductive during the verses, then deranged and girlish during the hook in the chorus. Better each time I hear it.

#3 "Sex Drive": I sense some Janet Jackson influences here! This track infuses that Jackson beat with Kitten's frantic energy. Not my favorite (only because it's not that dynamic beyond the sexy chorus).

#5 "Cathedral": My favorite new song on the album. The opening is lulling and I'm absolutely swept away as Chloe graces us with her musical purr... Her beautiful voice is resounding, and the lyrics are intricate and telling. Sexy sexy sexy, put this on repeat now.

#7 "Why I Wait": The first KITTEN (self-titled) single, quickly becoming a fan favorite. There's a late-90s vibe, like it should be playing at the Bronze during an episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (no complaints there), and the chorus sweeps in with an intimate twinkle. Then we're all transported.

#8 "Devotion": Let's all just dance and sway like we did in the late 80s! This track accompanies that feeling perfectly. Then maybe make-out a little as the track climaxes.

#12 "Apples and Cigarettes": Stripped-down and sweet (with a hint of teenage desperation), the close-out for the standard album is all acoustic guitar and Chloe's shimmering, unapologetic voice. I dare you to listen to her throaty, angst-y vocals and tell me that's not a superstar in the making.

Do yourself a favor: buy this record on vinyl LP and listen to it as it was intended to be heard. KITTEN (self-titled) is a testament to what this band has already accomplished, and at 19 years old, a sprinkling of what is to come from front-woman Chloe Chaidez. That little firecracker can't be stopped. Nor should she be.

*this review was posted simultaneously on in review of this album

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