Giant Kitty, This Stupid Stuff

Giant Kitty, <i>This Stupid Stuff</i>

Simple works. It just does, just about every damn time. And with This Stupid Stuff, four-piece punk rock crew Giant Kitty prove that over and over and over again. Even for a punk band these days, they’re refreshingly old-school, dancing across the grey area between New Wave, pop-punk, and straight-up pop with minimal, clean (despite the distorted guitars) production that sounds out of time — and no, I don’t mean that as a bad thing. Imagine what might’ve happened if L7 had been produced by Ric Ocasek back when The Cars were at their peak, and you’ll kinda-sorta get the idea.

And again: it freaking works. Take “Fascinator,” for example, a track that’s somehow about a tiny, decorative bit of hat some people stick into their hair (I think) and is nonetheless surprisingly addictive, one of my favorite songs on the whole album. It’s sweet and melodic, sure, but also snarling and defiant at the same time; there’re no frills here, just Cassandra’s metallic guitar, Glenn’s Mike Dirnt-esque bass, Trinity’s solid drumming, and Miriam’s half-growled/half-sung vocals. It shouldn’t work, honestly, but Giant Kitty pulls it off.

Similarly, “Old People Sex” sounds from the very title like it’d be awkward as hell…and yeah, it is, but it’s also somehow endearing and sweet, like a punk rock version of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” (shut up, alright?; I know you know the song I’m talking about). Further on, “Man Size” is simultaneously math-y and bluesy, which is an impressive thing to be able to say; if anything, it makes me think of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs minus a fair helping of artiness.

Along with the L7 and Yeah Yeah Yeahs peeking through, there’s also a burly, rough-around-the-edges Green Day feel to a lot of This Stupid Song, which I can completely get behind. Then there’s, well, another influence that I would swear I hear. See, on the metal-tinged “Hipster Boy,” bassist/backing vocalist Glenn (the lone dude in the band) comes off like Fred Schneider to Miriam’s Kate Pierson.

In fact, there’s a lot about this that reminds me of the B-52’s, and I mean that in a complimentary way. Houston New Year’s Eve 2016 horrorshow aside, that band just about perfectly bridges the gap between ’80s New Wave and punk and ’90s pop, having a foot firmly in both eras, and Giant Kitty does the same. Plus, also like that band, Giant Kitty aren’t afraid to play things goofy, albeit usually with a darker, more serious undertone.

For the goofier aspect of the band’s personality, see “Don’t Stop That Bus,” the band’s gritty, heart-on-sleeve ode to that actor of actors, Keanu Reeves, complete with shoutouts to (duh) Speed, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Much Ado About Nothing, The Devil’s Advocate, Constantine, and Johnny Mnemonic (which I was pretty sure nobody but me had ever bothered to watch, to be honest).

The darkness takes center stage on the snarling, raw “This Stupid Stuff” and dark, murky “No Home,” the latter of which thankfully gives frontwoman Miriam a chance to stretch out a bit from what she does on the rest of the album and which actually sounds a bit more grunge-y than the other tracks, to boot. And then, closing things out, there’s “America’s Dad,” which is a furious, bitter blast at entertainer/rapist Bill Cosby, the “TV dad” a lot of people (myself included) grew up with. It’s

Throughout This Stupid Stuff, I find myself feeling like I’m arriving back home, stepping through a door I know and into a place that’s familiar and warm and welcoming; back in the ’90s, I lived on a whole lot of music like Giant Kitty, with their straightforward, back-to-basics approach to punk rock, and going back there now feels pretty awesome.

[Giant Kitty plays its record release 1/29/2016 at Walter’s, along with Fea & Only Beast.]
(Innsbruck Records -- http://innsbruckrecords.com/; Sony Music; Giant Kitty -- http://www.giantkitty.com/; Giant Kitty (Facebook) -- https://www.facebook.com/GiantKitty/)
BUY ME: iTunes

Review by . Review posted Friday, January 29th, 2016. Filed under Reviews.

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One Response to “Giant Kitty, This Stupid Stuff

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Video Catch-Up Time: Giant Kitty + Oceans of Slumber + Second Lovers + Keeton Coffman on January 29th, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    […] pretty damn new, from Giant Kitty. It’s the first single off the band’s brand-new album This Stupid Stuff, and it’s the best freaking song I’ve ever heard about Keanu […]

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