w/ Stratford 4
Tues March 5

The scream occupies a very important place in music. Where would we be without the call-to-arms wail of Kathleen Hanna, the aching howl of Patti Smith, or the sexually frustrated shrieking of Prince? There's nothing that exhibits passion more than a totally unbridled, from-the-gut holler, emitted from a vocalist about to fall over from the velocity of their own breath. No matter what type of screaming that vocalist does, however, there's always a feeling that said vocalist is a total badass.

KaitO is one such example. Aesthetically, the band is very cute--two girls and two boys, all with burning eyes and cheeks you could easily land a big smooch on, like they just stepped out of a Fawn Gehweiler drawing--as is the art they use for their flyers, album covers, etc. They use lots of scruffy line drawings of attractive youths kissing, girls with pigtails, stars and hearts, etc. You might even think they were a twee-pop band. But once you hear Nikki and Gemma Kaito's in-your-face sing-screaming, mad with joy, you know that they rank with the screamers--exhilarating and undeniably tough--but in a fun way, like if you don't dance to their music, they may consider kicking your ass. This pop is punk rock.

This is not to say that there is a deficit of sweetness in KaitO's music, however. The Norwich, England quartet layers lovely harmonies over the breathless warbling of Nikki's lyrics. And, in the spirit of Huggy Bear, they burst and whoop like cheerleaders, which is certainly catching; spend about two minutes with their over-the-top, space pop, and you'll be doing fan kicks from here to Baltimore.

Some of the scream sounds exhibited in KaitO's music, as heard on their debut American release, You've Seen Us You Must Have Seen Us, and subsequent EP, Montigola Underground: "Hoo! Hoo!," "Shot, Shot, Shot, Shot!" "Huh huh!," "GO!," "Woo!," and, of course, "Ooh! Oooh!" It is the most exciting barrage of onomatopoeias, and what makes it even better is that the guitars follow in kind; in addition to traditionally melodic chords and explosive bass lines, it seems like guitarist Dave Lake's sole purpose is to make his guitar channel the sound of spaceship exhaust. Not spacey in a neo-psychedelic, drone way, mind you--spacey, as in, "I spent my whole childhood watching extra-low budget robot films from the '60s and studying the noises that emerge from toy laser guns." Even if it weren't for the great screaming, Lake's junky toy sounds would be enough to make the band.

KaitO's live show is equally as fun as their records. You'll be amazed that any one band's dynamic can have such a perpetual increase; it seems that, with each song, the group is more ready to just blow up from rapture. And their energy is so contagious, you may pass out yourself. Then everybody will be on the floor, writhing from glee.