London Highbury Garage

Ontario's [a]Kittie[/a] grab rock'n'roll in their fingerless-leather-gloved hands and squeeze it, hard...

Hubble. Bubble. And boil away! Ontario’s [a]Kittie[/a] grab rock’n’roll in their fingerless-leather-gloved hands and squeeze it, hard. So hard that all the extraneous bullshit falls away and all that remains is a black, intense quake of distortion, knitting-machine drums and vocals that tear from guttural growl to twisted-angel cry in a split-second. No light, all shade. Just heavy, just hard. And, oh, so good [I](Nurse! The screens – Ed)[/I].

Nu-metal’s radical rewrite of rock – no guitar solos, no ballads, just the riff – finds its apex here. [a]Kittie[/a] riffs can’t be plotted melodically, you couldn’t hum a [a]Kittie[/a] tune, but you could sure as hell tap it out as a mean, martial tattoo. There is absolutely no messing about, just pure power, so that guitars are more conductors of blinding electricity than conventional musical instruments.

Against this frill-free backing, Morgan Lander‘s howls sound deliciously primal, vicious, like Babes In Toyland‘s Kat Bjelland at her glorious peak. Sure, tracks like the brutalising ‘Do You Think I’m A Whore’, off their recently released ‘Spit’ debut album, might be simple reductive sloganeering, but the concept’s there. [a]Kittie[/a] are girls, and therefore genetically predisposed to victimisation and abuse from the eternally patriarchal society at large [I](Steady! Genetics versus socialisation arguments? In a [a]Kittie[/a] review? Purleeze – Ed)[/I]. While kindred musical spirits like Korn pack their thrash with a litany of imagined/magnified childhood traumas (pretty much, ‘Daddy didn’t buy me an R2D2 doll’), [a]Kittie[/a]’s ire stems from a very real injustice that’ll always be there, striking out against glass ceilings drawing inexorably closer. That’s why, when [a]Kittie[/a] lash out, they draw blood.

Not that [a]Kittie[/a] play victim at any point tonight. No, Morgan, Talena, Fallon and Mercedes strike flawless rawk poses, chat stadium patter like the rock gods of yore, and come on like a polished rock machine ready for world domination. The ‘issues’ may lurk in their songs, but [a]Kittie[/a] aren’t here to lecture. They make easy, drooling disciples of the Garage because, if actions speak louder than words, [a]Kittie[/a]’s synapse-fusing metal screams louder than all.