Boomkat Product Review:
You can forgive the fact that it's been 11 years since the last Free Kitten album; it's not as if the various band members have been resting on their laurels. Yoshimi and Kim Gordon have had a fertile decade or so in Boredoms and Sonic Youth, respectively, and ex-Pussy Galore guitarist Julia Cafritz has been sensible enough to get a proper job, pursuing a degree in teaching after the band's '90s heyday. After all that time in a state of dormancy, the band return stronger than ever with this third album proper. Bassist Mark Ibold (once of Pavement) has since departed the band, so on Inherit, Free Kitten become a power trio, with Gordon and Cafritz co-fronting the band, sharing vocals and guitar. It comes as some relief to discover that the band haven't been subdued after taking all that time away from the project. If anything, Inherit demonstrates a more sophisticated, but hardly less destructive approach to their gloriously discordant song craft. The punk roots are still showing, but there's a little more substance to these recordings, whether it be in a more avant-garde approach to composition, as on the droning, mysterious 'Billboard', or the chirping guitar lead interference of 'Free Kitten On The Mountain'. On the other hand, you'll encounter something like 'Surf's Up', a far more instant tangle of guitar noise with plenty of effects-driven abrasion and J Mascis-like fuzz solos jostling with Gordon's hushed vocal for dominance in the mix. More 'pop' music arrives in the shape of 'Seasick' and 'Roughshod', which are both glued together by the kind of melodies a four-year-old could have come up with, but it's all reinforced by a raw noise-rock riffing and solid, straight-up drumbeats, all performed with that ideal balance between rock & roll swagger and complete nonchalance. 'Help Me' gets a little more ferocious, playing some production tricks akin to Bjork's 'There's More To Life Than This'; it begins, sounding as if it's been recorded in some rock-bottom lo-fi, confined space, only to open up into a proper studio recording upon Cafritz's cries of "Let me out of here" in the song's chorus. Vital to the success of this album, is that for every one of these 90-second blasts of punk energy there are more extended, experimental pieces to match, and the high standards are all-but unwavering. Even after all these years of separation, Free Kitten sound so much fresher, and so much more vital than just about any of the new kids and young pretenders out there. Awesome.