I’ve been waiting a long time for this record to come out. I saw Kitten open for The Joy Formidable at The Vic in April of last year and it was one of the best sets I’ve seen in a long time. Frontwoman Chloe Chaidez made sure every square inch of the stage was trampled on by her feet as the rampaged in front of the crowd. As soon as their set was over, I knew these kids had a chance to be big. Like, really big. They put out a well-received EP later in 2013, which I liked quite a bit. Now they’re on the cusp of releasing their self-titled full length album. And you can stream it early at KROQ’s website!
One of the things I loved about seeing them live was the joy they seemed to take in mixing early 80’s new wave sounds with more modern production flourishes. They covered “Purple Rain” in their set, and you can feel the influence of Prince in almost every song-as well as Madonna and The Smiths. It’s funny to think that I, a decade older than anyone in the band, consider the same artists as influences on my own musical spectrum. Through all 13 tracks on the new record (3 of which are recycled from the earlier EP) they create a kind of tribute to the music they love, maybe introducing a younger audience to some of those artists. It’s a great mix of new and old that I can listen to over and over again, finding something new each time.
The band did well when choosing the lead single for the new album. “Why I Wait” sounds different enough from the rest of the record to stand out, but not so different that it feels out of place. It’s got a great vibe to it, like Whitney Houston remixed by the xx. Opening with an organ and electric drum beat, the song grows with synthed out vocal dubs before Chaidez provides a breathy, sultry voiceover for the first verse. Then the song switches gear into an R&B slow jam more exciting than anything Robin Thicke or John Legend have delivered.
I won’t spoil the rest of the album. You can check it out for yourself via KROQ or wait until next week and pick up a copy. If you dig it, they’re also offering some autographed bundles and other goodies via their website. Kitten are about to head out on their first headlining tour, including shows at Chive Fest here in Chicago on June 28th, and the following night at Summerfest in Milwaukee. To see if they’ll be in a town near you, check out their tour page.