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Monday, June 30, 2008

Free Kitten

Inherit (Ecstatic Peace)

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  Every once in a while, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, Pussy Galore’s Julia Cafritz, Boredoms’ Yoshimi P-We and sometimes (but not this time) Pavement’s Mark Ibold (and no, indie fanboys, that does not mean a Pavement reunion is in the works) get together to break what must be the tedium of being in some of the coolest %#@*ing bands in the world.

  Free Kitten’s last little diversion, Sentimental Education, came out in 1997. So what do they have to offer 11 years later? Well, at its worst, an album that manages to make an alt-rock hero, Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis (who throws around some licks throughout “Surf’s Up”), sound like your younger brother dicking around on a guitar in his bedroom—only duller. At the album’s best, Gordon sounds like vintage Sonic Youth—fuzzed and cracking riffs coupled with hypnotic, meandering drones. Gordon also brings her signature trying-so-hard-it-ends-up-sounding-like-I-don’t-try-at-all street beat poetics to hammer down the otherwise enjoyable twists and turns of the 11-minute “Monster Eye” with a cringe-worthy spoken word ballad to some jackass with a guitar who, from Gordon’s description, sounds a lot like that younger brother of yours. While her lyrics may not offer much, Cafritz shines with the nautical-themed “Seasick” and barely-two-minute quick-burners like “Help Me.”

  So Inherit wasn’t exactly worth the wait. But then, I don’t think anyone was actually waiting, were they? What Inherit is, however, is a mostly worthwhile holdover until the next Sonic Youth album comes out.

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