‘Fun Fact No. 13’ shows off Hell City Kitty’s impressive range of musical influences
It’s no secret that we here at Big Sky State Buzz consider ourselves fans of Hell City Kitty, and with good reason — not only do they make pretty kick-ass music, they’re real fine people, too.
Be that as it may, when Cale Younce, lead guitarist for the group and husband of lead singer Mandy Younce, asked me to review their upcoming album, “Fun Fact No. 13” he told me he wanted me to tell them what I honestly think about it. The album drops on Aug. 11, so check it out then.
So here it is, my honest opinion — even if I had no idea who Hell City Kitty were, I’d still think their new album fucking rocks, because it most certainly does.
It’s not without it’s problems, which I’ll go a bit into, but overall, after listening to all of the 14 tracks (two of which are bonus live songs), I found myself reaching for the repeat button on several songs.
Most notably “Bring It All Home,” “Banjo Song for the 47 Percent,” and “Policy and Procedure.” On these songs the melody hits you in all the right places, the guitar riffs/solos rock your socks off and you can’t help but smile as you’re listening to them.
In fact, one of the first things you’ll notice upon listening to Hell City Kitty, either in live or on a record, is their confidence in their strengths and their firm grasp of hiding their weaknesses.
They’re experienced performers, as this album proves. The only real weaknesses come more from a technical standpoint more than a musical one. Also, please keep in mind that while I listen to music and critique it for a living, I’m not a professional sound guy so my descriptions on technical aspects will reflect this fact.
Before that, though, one thing you will notice with this album is the band’s impressive range of musical influences on display.
Listening through the album I heard bits of Primus and Leonard Cohen along with hints of Joan Jett, Tom Morello, Foo Fighters and Florence and the Machine, among others.
I’m also more of an alternative rock fan than a punk rock fan, so I probably hear more of the alternative influence than the punk parts, although I do recognize those influences as well. What this all means is that what I hear may be much different than what someone who has a different taste in music might hear.
One thing that’s easy to notice, though is how, like many independent/garage/punk bands, you won’t find a lot songs where the spotlight is shone on the bass guitar or the drums.
They’re more there to provide a garden for the lead vocals and guitar riffs to flourish in. It might have been nice to see a little more emphasis on the bass and the drums, but, it doesn’t take anything away from the album the way it is.
One thing I noticed that might take away from the quality of the album a tad bit is the inconsistent mixing from song to song.
The most glaring example of this had to be between the second song “Dustin Rubies” and the third song “Glamour Cannon.”
Both tracks on their own are well performed, but the vocals on “Dustin Rubies” is muted much more than the vocals on “Glamour Cannon.”
“Fez Time” also sounds a bit too tinny for my liking. Compare the audio quality of “Fez Time” to the song before it “Forklift” and you can’t help but notice the vast difference in sound output.
The output on the two live tracks, though “Banjo Song for the 47 Percent” and “60 Seconds of Bullshit,” are spot on, however. Putting live tracks on an album can be a risky endeavor sometimes because it can be difficult to control how the unit’s cohesive sound transfers over to a non-live setting. They hit these well, though, and you can hear what you need to hear nicely.
All and all, despite the few weak spots, “Fun Fact No. 13” is a solid piece of work. Anytime a band that sounds awesome live records an album, it can be tempting to say that “well they’re good, but they’re not as good as they are live,” but that’s not quite the case here.
(I’d also argue that you can say that about almost any band so it’s a bit of a bullshit argument to make, but I’ll save that for a different article.)
If you’re a fan of indie garage rock, give “Fun Fact No. 13′ a listen and find out for yourself what makes Hell City Kitty a rockin’ batch of musicians.