CATFIGHT! – In Stereo
Like the static on the airwaves before a radio station tunes in crystal clear, the distortion at the beginning of “In Stereo” jars the listener a bit before zeroing in on a driving guitar hook that crescendos into the first words of “Get It On.” In the minute-and-a-half that follow, the song doesn’t go beyond a few strings of repeated lyrics over a zig-zagged guitar line and crashing percussion. But what it does is set up the direction for the remaining four songs on the EP, all of which follow in a similar fashion of fuzzy, loud, stripped-down rock.
Yes, the songs are simple – perhaps a bit too much so – but the band seems to go more for the slug-you-in-the-gut approach as opposed to the route of impressive, over-the-top pretention.
And it’s easy to point out that the marketing is just a little too White Stripes, with the swirly red and white artwork gracing the cover like a Target ad, the imagery brought forth by the song “Candy Cane” and the most obvious one of them all – the male/female duo. Yes, maybe it’s a little too…formulaic…but it still manages to work.
With most songs coming in under three minutes, CATFIGHT! play a brand of catchy, infectious garage rock that sports its own interpretation of riot grrrl influences in the backbone of its presentation. What’s unique about this band is that guitarist Bobby and drummer Christine trade off – and sometimes collaborate on – vocal duties, and the latter sports seductive pipes that are both deep and screechy, akin to Courtney Love meets Kathleen Hanna meets Nina Gordon meets Liz Phair – or something along those lines.
In fact, it’s Christine’s vocals on “Alone Today” and “Sheila” which really make the sound work. In spite of the minimalism of the music, or perhaps because of it, there’s something contagious about her enigmatic way of singing.
The one song on the album that is a bit too stale in comparison with the rest is the middle track “Ready Steady Go”. The problem is that it dances but doesn’t really drive. The abrupt endings to most tunes also make things feel a bit edgy, although not necessarily in a good way.
Overall, the duo could stand to expand a bit in its lyrical and musical exploration, but this isn’t a bad start, although playing it a little less close to comfort might do wonders for this group. There may not be too much original about this band, but I bet CATFIGHT! put on one hell of a live show.
Release Date: September 20, 2008