Vicious Kitty – Self-Titled (LP)

As if to shove its way through the darkness on the back of a potent guitar’s hardest melody, we’re bid a harsh hello by the strings in “Bangkok City” as we start the tracklist in Vicious Kitty’s LP Vicious Kitty. There’s a feeling of iciness to the beat-solid piece that ensues, but it won’t stop a warm undertow from whisking us away with its powerful harmony, which on its own is almost too big for the track it’s contained within. This intro is a good buffer for the full-board magic of “Sweet Memories” and a radio-ready slab of alternative rock in “Alone,” but don’t be fooled by the theatrics – this is a band focused more on the music than they are the mundane fireworks any artist can add into a record after the fact.


Truthfully, nothing in Vicious Kitty sounds like it was created external to the other material in the tracklist; if anything else were the case, I doubt “Alone,” “Struggle” and even the bridge work “Spank Me” would sound so refreshingly focused and efficient. The first half of this album is so strategically made, so conservatively fashioned even, that there’s little doubt in my mind as to whether or not a lot of time and effort went into refining even the most subtle of details in the music. This isn’t just a record but an experience meant to encapsulate something so much bigger than the average hard rock affair can illustrate.

“Mr. Darkness” is my favorite song on the LP specifically for the reason that it rejects every aesthetical parameter you would ever set in front of it. Its strings dance with a metallic irony that presses against the lyrics ever so begrudgingly, implying angst and emotion as great as the harmony that soon bubbles up to the surface of the mix. “Freedom” cleans up the melodic structure of this track and extends it into a powerful rock song made of pure physicality, but this doesn’t overshadow the total zaniness of “Innocent Girl” at all – the opposite. If continuity in progressive circumstances is your thing, Vicious Kitty just might be the perfect album to join your collection before the summer season has concluded.

“No More Waitin’” forms a metal-tinged void which “Looking Glass” fills over several retro movements that recall some of the best parts of what made classic rock great to begin with all without really trampling on the sonic integrities of any one rock school in its most virginal form. When the music fades away in a texturally heavy haze, the echoes of the narrative just constructed before our very ears are just beginning to sink in, as is the crushing talent of this band as a collective unit. With or without the addition of the record’s haunting production elements, Vicious Kitty feels like the kind of alternative watershed we haven’t seen or heard much of in a long while now, and the timing of its arrival couldn’t be better for the musicians who made it so seductive in the first place.

Mark Druery