Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Want To Hold Your Hand And Go To Hell

The Kits

Primitive Tales
Dirty Water Records
Available in the US through Get Hip Distribution

"I Want To Hold Your Hand and Go To Hell" is the coolest song of the year. Period. Don't even bother trying! No contest.

I had to get that off my chest. Many make it a point to say that powerpop is garage rock with some Kinks influence and better production, but not garage rock. Melbourne/London's The Kits have managed to carve themselves out a nice little space inbwetween the two things on their full length debut Primitive Tales. It's catchy, loud, and has plenty of snarls, wails, and early punk styled melodic riffs to make one think they're a few decades older. Not quite, but the style of music is very much like Television and The Saints in heavy guitar, but with a little more willingness to at least attempt at having something called a vocal. "Get Closer" has some great adolescent pleads from vocal/guitar Kit Atkinson and a guitar note melody that knocks on early post punk of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures with a little more power, a lot more heart, and a lot less darkness. Now that's hard to give a picture, so just try to imagine Joy Division without morbid notions and you'll get a Closer idea. It's not all happy, but it's fun. One also hears the metallic gloss of great '80s Aussie garage of bands like Radio Birdman in the melody and bassline, but with distorted powerchords befitting to CBGB's and Mudclub acts of the day. Again, more middleground carved out between.

I've already said what can mostly be said about "I Want To Hold Your Hand And Go To Hell", but the high pitched backing vocals make one think of Pete Townshend's adolescent voice changing at a bad time combined with only the loud parts of Pixies songs.

The combination of a punk rock abrasiveness combined with tight hooks and a good melodic bend on "Don't Want To Lose This Fight" do fall in line again with another act originated from Manchester, The Buzzcocks, but "Dangerous Life" crosses over into a sound enhanced by vocal harmonies and a much harsher, slightly darker take with a stronger, fuller feel. There's a sudden left turn on "She's The Number One" that's a straight up, punked out take on "I'm Waiting For My Man" right down to the rhythm guitar, but with an edge that fits in with older Swedish contemporaries Stupidity. The Kits play rock 'n' roll that sounds like it's made by garage punk veterans. However, they rehearse very often. It's only natural that they ended up as punks with more polish and a strength for good hooks and guitar melody changes and accentuation than a lot of people who never get past three chords. "Not In My House" showcases these talents with quite a few melodic surprises and a tone that hasn't been heard since The Godfathers, but the '20s mob gangster image isn't there. Instead, Kit Atkinson sounds like a snotty punk kid on songs like "City To City" back when punk actually meant something.

These guys are packed in tight on "Automatic" with a an anthem intro and as if by predisposition, Michael Cleverly's high noted, heavy bass melodies are just great! Primitive Tales rounds off well with "Horror Movie" and "Here She Comes." Although both songs bear a lot in common with the volume and delivery of the more polished Swedish garage bands, this is a result of a shared environment in a way since being indoors forces one to practice and it moves one to become tighter sounding. Originally from Australia, The Kits took the raw, Stooges based sound combined with a laid back, surfer attitude and penchant for hooks and catchy tunes that exemplifies Aussie garage rock and moved to London, where being indoors rehearsing often and having the characteristic London Rain dampening their sunny origins.

The Kits are punks. Their music has snot, blood, and spit only magnified by the dreariness of their new stomping ground, but it's disciplined by their own motivation. If anything, The Kits Primitive Tales has it's raw purity intact, but it's also what happens when a garage punk band add some pure punk rock angst and focus every ounce of energy into their music: The body fluids and pain in them take on sharper meaning while becoming a little complex, but Primitive Tales still sounds so young and desperate that it won't (and we hope, the sound never will) become "accessible". That IS garage punk. It can have a melody, it can even have a complex song structure at times, but it's full of goo, fuzz, and other unmentionable matter that make it a little too beyond the mainstream formulas that most people want and need to stay comfortable.

As promised, "I Want To Hold Your Hand And Go To Hell"

1 comment:

Martha said...

I can't wait to listen to them with a review like that!