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Personal Hotspots by Kitten

Chris Peters

17 Dec 2021

2014 was of course the year that Chris Martin 'consciously uncoupled' from Gwyneth and gave just another reason for Coldplay's music to induce vomiting every time they appeared on the airwaves uninvited. In another far more abstract part of the universe, however, indie pop rockers Kitten released their self titled debut album. Now, seven years later, with an entirely new line up behind front woman Chloe Chaidez we are graced with the follow up Personal Hotspots. Where will Chloe take us on this journey through her mind?

Personal Hotspots is the album equivalent of being lured in to a party you didn't want to go to then having the greatest night of your life. The opening track The End Of Sunshine builds an, albeit stunningly beautiful, false sense of security with its choral vocals, sparingly utilised harmonies and subtle breadth of instrumentation. The tempo and power is then turned up with the vastly different 80s influenced pop tune What Year Are We In. The largely monotonic vocal delivery of the verses so heavily contrasted to the albums opener still holds a unique quality that works perfectly for this style of song. The drum breaks are especially inspired and totally embody that Kitten character that shoots veins through the whole record in one way or another.

For a first time listener of Kitten every track will equal parts confuse and exhilarate. The fourth track on the album includes an aggressive, industrial, dubstep inspired post chorus which shouldn't work but absolutely does. In Reassuring Passage a distant figure voices calming words for one minute to cleanse our minds before the second half of the album.

In between all the obscure curveballs however there are numerous classicly crafted pop songs with undeniable radio appeal I expect to be hearing more of in the coming months. Angelina with its dreamy verses dowsed in Californian sunshine was already released as a single back in 2020 and is an obvious pick. My Block has a similarly catchy hook and a snappy overdriven guitar riff just keeping the track from falling over the edge at times into club territory. The same guitar appears out of nowhere midway through My House for the beginnings of a dramatic 80s metal style solo. American Football also has all the makings of a summertime radio hit complete with canned crowd cheering in the background.

The record ends with the oddly named and haunting I Wanted To Die, And Then I Met You which consists of little more than Chloe quietly delivering the line over a sparing piano and synth bedding. A strange piece but fitting for this project where we rarely no what to expect from the next track at any given time. It is surprising to check the time at this point and realise we have only been through 28 minutes of music. The rollercoaster of sounds and styles makes the record feel much fuller although a further 20 minutes would be greatly welcomed by me at least.

Chloe Chaidez and her band have done an astonishing job of throwing together a plethora of styles yet keeping a distinctive character bleeding through all of them. Everything is done to a high standard whether it be the distorted screams of the industrial Daddy Don't Take My Phone or the gentle yet powerful dream pop opener The End Of Sunshine. The album is a well thought out piece of work with noticeable consideration given to track selection and sequencing. The songwriting ability displayed on this record is fantastic and in keeping with Kittens previous work and the production is absolutely first class. I hope we don't have to wait a further 7 years for the next significant release. The album is available to stream now so please take a listen and let me know your thoughts.

Chris Peters

Personal Hotspots by Kitten