KITTEN – Sunday School

reviewed by Jake Benjamin | Monday, December 6th, 2010

In this post-ironic, hyperaware, hyper-connected world of the internet and technology, a band like Kitten shouldn’t be refreshing. A female-fronted pop rock band shouldn’t be a selling-point. Rock is still a boys game, a field overrun with macho egos and drooping emo sad sacks. There is still a sore and ugly lack of female-driven rock bands that aren’t singled out, praised, or panned for their gender before their talent.

Kitten’s EP entitled Sunday School is a slim album, a shade over 18 minutes. It’s a forceful single-note record, smartly shying from attempts to dabble and toy, instead establishing and shoring up their steak knife guitar sound across the five tracks.  It is even more impressive considering their age — three of the four members are under 21. The clear cut single here is “Kill The Light,” a beat-driven, melodic jackhammer of a song complete with a Springsteen reference. Chloe Chaidez, at a shocking 15 years old, carries the song, with a powerhouse voice complete with small bits of Bjork-like spurts. Chaidez’s voice is a reaffirmation that the vocal cords are as much an instrument as the guitar or drum.

There is one departure from the meat and potatoes guitar pop sound: “Allison Day.” It toes a line, sounding quiet and as capable of exploding into raucousness as any of the other four songs; helping the cause is its beginnings in squealing feedback. The breathy, airy vocals and quiet reverb calm it down, but it still feels on edge before devolving back into feedback squeal.

It is hard to argue from album alone where Kitten wants to fit into the canon of girl pop rock — whether they aim to deconstruct and replace the stereotypical approach rock music has taken to women with instruments,  or play into it, or both — but if they can make listening to “Thunder Road” as interesting and addictive sounding as they do, they’ll have the chance to do with music what they want.

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