The All Americanby Chainsaw Kittens
It's a great, funny title -- after all, the Oklahoma-based Kittens couldn't be any more American, even while embracing a sound and image that totally upends the conservative milieu from whence they sprang. Still keeping the same lineup, with Bell doubling as the producer and recording engineer, the four-piece steps up the energy level a bit from the self-titled release while not completely blasting out all over the place as in earlier days. It's a good balance that suits a band that's been around long enough to do exactly what it wants, and bless the Kittens for sounding as inspired and lovely as ever. Opening track "Light," with its steady crunch, featuring guest piano from "the young fabulous Derek Brown" and Meade's ever wonderful singing, is all the assurance a longtime fan needs that they haven't lost it, while also sounding good enough to win over new listeners. More than a few song titles show that Meade's knack in that area hasn't lessened either -- thus, "Gleaming Soft White Teens" (a title Marilyn Manson would kill for), "All American Wiggle Wiggle," and "John Wayne" -- as in Gacy. Both Meade and Bell sound just fine bending frets as before, with snorting glam snarls and chunky pop riffs, while the Johnson/Harmon rhythm section shows off its own quality throughout as well. Brown's piano playing appears on a good number of the songs as well, adding a gentle note of reflection to many songs without wimping them out. Definite highlights include "Calling From Space," a dreamy, downright haunting charge of a number, and the lengthy, slow collapse of "Shutdown" -- Meade's backing vocal overdubs on both are especially fine. The album concludes with a bonus the band originally did for a Go-Go's tribute album -- that group's "We Got the Beat," done as a measured, threatening number, spliced with Iggy Pop's "Nightclubbing" for good measure.
- Release Date:
- Four Alarm
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