Chainsaw Kittens

Chainsaw Kittens

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The Kittens and the Smashing Pumpkins toured together in the early nineties, even sharing Butch Vig's production touches around the same time, so when the latter band's James Iha and D'arcy offered Meade and company a home on their Scratchie label, off they went. Following up hit album in all but sales Pop Heiress turned out to be more than achievable; if a bit of the more extreme, hysterical energy of the Kittens wasn't always apparent, the general quality of the songs and performances more than made up for it. Meade's singing is still mostly high and quite addicting, while Bell remains a great guitar and songwriting partner, with newly rechristened drummer Eric Edward Bones helping out with the composition as well. A notable addition to the proceedings are the appearances of James Honderich on violin and Mary Beth Leigh on cello at many points throughout the album, while Meade and Bell both add organs and moog to the proceedings as well. The result infuses the songs with a quirkier, sometimes jauntier edge (check out "Bones In My Teeth"), not psychedelic but thicker in sound, richer one could say. "Tongue Trick" captures this feeling well, the strings and keyboards accentuating the quavering bop feeling of the song. The overall feeling of the album is more melancholy and thoughtful than any previous one, capturing the sense of sadness and desparation which formed an undercurrent with many earlier songs. "Mouthful of Glass" is especially sharp, recounting being at the wrong end of an assault even as the music amps up. For all that, commanding and invigorating music still is the order of the day, like the sleek sass of "King Monkey Smoke" or the lower-key sting of "Ballad of Newsman," with a great rant about the titular character's too clean teeth.

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