Music Reviews

Stiff Kittens

Won’t Reach the Fifth

Absolute Marketing

Vibrant, viscous, and altogether charming… they’re Blink-182 exchanging pleasantries with Slade, meeting Mike Peters, Boy-era U2, then a welcoming douse from The Waterboys. Stiff Kittens are a four member Welsh phenomenon that rides on the coattails of the Big ’80s Modern Rock takeover with a well collected angst that’s neither cliché nor contrived, but well composed and sensuous. They weave radio-ready pop tones with breezy effects and chugging chord changes; melodic charm with spiritual undercurrents, comfortable to rise above the mainstream as they are gliding two or three feet beneath, unafraid to bend a note or two, plagiarize a Ramones riff or cop a chorus or three or four. Their style is “big” yet earthy, Cult-like in stature, with a post-punk freshness that led two decades’ worth of indie rock significance, though not your average collection of so-so altern-activists of a lost age resurfaced. Won’t Reach the Fifth is seasonally charged with an anthemic passion that combines a hard edge with lush melodies, vocal clarity and spacious backing, reverberating arena-based audibility with familial sincerity-top picks include “The Moth Collection,” “The Liar’s Song,” “You Crush Me,” and “I’m Very Afraid.” While it’s limb-stretching to think Stiff Kittens could be that bright-eyed Welsh wunderkind to turn their stately fortunes without some aggrandized agenda, they’re the kind that sneaks up in a dimly lit corner, pops up on an indie soundtrack or two and all of a sudden reignites an interest in bands like Mission U.K. or The Church before going belly up in the sea of their own tranquility. Team ‘em with their former Novocaine NP9 countrymen and we’ll see some sparks fly.

Stiff Kittens:

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