You’ve seen them live, but do you really want to take them home with you?
That’s the question you’ll have to ask yourself before purchasing Hip Kitty’s eponymously-titled 5-song EP. The fun-loving Nashville-based band has played Piere’s in Ft. Wayne several times in the past and has two upcoming shows there on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The “Hip Kitty” EP is the second set of studio originals released by the band, the first being the 14-song “Art of War” LP, released in 2008; the band also has another live EP, “Hip Kitty Live,” from 2007, under its belt.
From the opening strains of the first track, “I’m With Your Best Friend,” the band’s stature is evident – not bad, not great, not entirely interesting. While the track generates a solidly dirty hard rock groove and the composition and arrangement is tighter than a band of rank amateurs could produce, the song as a whole comes across with less excitement and appeal than was clearly intended.
Things pick up slightly on the more-uptempo second track, “Over My Head,” which may be due to the generally distorted and oft-unintelligible treatment of vocalist Jen Halverson’s vocals. Sonically the track works best when the vocals along with the instruments are served up as one heady mix.
The rest of the EP is not without its charms. The ballad “On This Side of Heaven” works an effective power ballad tone (complete with strumming reminiscent of Guns n’ Roses’ version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”), and “Love Hangover” features some nearly-heavy guitar work along with some good old-fashioned Framptone talkin’ guitars (have any guitars spoken on record since the days of David Lee Roth and Bon Jovi?). Unfortunately, the band waits until the final track, “Agony & Ecstasy,” to pull out what might be the strongest tune on the album, even though it’s ultimately neither all that agonizing nor ecstatic.
Overall, the EP can be an enjoyable listen, and the band produces some tight grooves along with the occasional hint of fireworks. The problem is that very little of the material here distinguishes itself as being much above average, and the band neither hits the marks they set for themselves nor deliver much in the way of passion or firepower.
The “Hip Kitty” EP might be up your alley if you have either seen the band live and want to relive the experience at home, or are experiencing deeply-nostalgaic longings for the late-80’s. But if you’re looking for something with a little more excitement or import, chances are you’ll be better off looking elsewhere.
Reprinted from an article in an updoming edition of Whatzup.