March 03, 2002

KaitO "Montigola Underground"

In preparing for this review, I looked up the word "cacophony."
The first dictionary I used was my handy-dandy AOL dictionary, and I produced the following definition: 1. harsh or discordant sound : 2; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases. A fair definition, but I feel it doesn't fully explain the word. So I approached my handy-dandy American Heritage Dictionary for further explanation. This time, I found the definition I was looking for: 1. Jarring, discordant sound; dissonance. 2. The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition, as for poetic effect. When it comes to KaitO, I'm much more partial to the American Heritage Dictionary definition.


Because this record is one of the nosiest, most vibrant records I've heard. Ever.

I've avoided KaitO, but I'm wishing I hadn't. Whenever comparisons to such overrated acts as Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Pavement, Kleenex/Lilliput and the Fall appear, I kindly lose all interest, for one of two reasons. I believe that the band will either sound like it's trying to rerecord the best moments of the previously mentioned influence, or I think that the band they're being compared to sucks. In the case of KaitO, I'd say that the latter holds true. However, my ears invariably do perk up when I see comparisons to Au Pairs, The Raincoats, Slits, and even Ruts DC. Thought I would never, ever want to support the growth and influence of Sonic Youth or Pavement, the reviews for their previous album, You've Seen Us, You Must Have Seen Us, made me want to touch the KaitO flame, but fear of hearing crappy music led me to withdraw my interest.

I shouldn't have worried, as Montigola Underground shows. KaitO are a mess--a shoddy, electronic toys-loving, sound-effects making mess. I wouldn't want to be the poor chap to transcribe the words of lead singer Nikki Colk's singing. Or, shall we say, shambiotic crooning. Hers is a little girl, sing-songy voice, innocent--until KaitO break into doing their post-punk cheerleader routine. KaitO's are sing along anthems that you'll never know the words to. Frankly, I wouldn't want to know what she's singing, as that would simply be taking away the magical experience of KaitO.

If you like the harsh, yet highly danceable pop sounds of British post-punk pop, then KaitO are most certainly the band for you. I won't bother describing this record piecemeal, as that would simply be taking the music out of context. I don't think that would serve KaitO well; they are a band to be taken fully in context, in their environment, and all at once. Don't bother listening to what critics (myself included, I'm man enough to admit the irony) say about KaitO--just listen. You'll either be inexplicably moved and utterly entranced by their noisy, alien sounds immediately , or you'll hate it from the very first note of "Sweet Allie" Methinks you'll like it.
I know I do.

--Joseph Kyle

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