In the press material accompanying the debut album from Kittie, no
fewer than three references are made contrasting the band with Britney
Spears. Even though the members of Kittie are four girls ranging in age from
15 to a grizzled 17, they are taking great strides to ensure they are not
lumped in with the current kiddie-pop phenomenon. (Actually, when exactly
did this phenomenon ever go away? Are we so vain that we can't remember
Another Bad Creation? The Osmonds?) But methinks Kittie doth protest too
much, since there's not much chance these girls will be mistaken for the
reigning wholesome teen queens anytime soon. In fact, these are the sort of
girls who beat up the Britney Spears of the world for lunch money, then cut
class to smoke in the parking lot.
If there's any bandwagon that this kiddie grindcore band is jumping on, it's
not the little red one steered by the moppets of Hanson or the maidens of
Lilith Fair, but the stolen one piloted by the thrash bands of Ozzfest.
Simply put, Kittie is to Fear Factory as the Donnas are to the Ramones. They
look like the Muppet Babies version of L7 and trade in a bottom-heavy,
gloomy brand of goth-metal that is more closely associated with an
overabundance of testosterone. Lacking any perceivable musical virtuosity or
lyrical acumen, the young women of Kittie are nonetheless capable players.
Spit offers 12 bile-spewing dirges featuring churning guitars and
angry growling vocals that are probably no worse than your average Coal
Chamber tune, although that may be damning with faint praise. The lyrics are
world-weary and bitter beyond the bandmembers' years. High school must be
worse than I remember.
Some of the tunes, such as the impressively layered "Charlotte" (RealAudio
excerpt) and "Paperdoll," showcase the softer side of lead singer
Morgan Lander's voice while still maintaining the band's heavy sound, but
most songs, including the title track (RealAudio
excerpt), threaten to shred her vocal cords by the time she's old
enough to buy beer. The climactic riffage in the bludgeoning "Raven"
excerpt) sounds exactly like Rocket From the Crypt's "On a Rope,"
but this is where the similarities end. The songs are by and large loud,
bombastic and one-note, with too few jumping out as distinctive or memorable.
But it might be interesting to see where Kittie are in a few years, once
their chops improve and their teen angst evolves into good old-fashioned
Though Spit is far from sugarcoated or commercial, there is a vague
underlying sense of gimmickry to the whole endeavor. The sheer familiarity
of many of the songs begs the question: If this band was comprised of four
teen-age boys, would there be anything here of note at all? Of course,
it may be that sort of narrow-minded statement from square, curmudgeonly
critics that contributes to Kittie's sense of defensiveness, not to mention
all that anger.