Kitten’s third EP, released in August, seduces with a decidedly unchild-like force. Lead singer Chloe Chaidez alternately serenades with a sexy, whisper-soft croon and cries out with a release so potent that she must be cracking ribs. Although her heavy sound says otherwise, Chaidez hasn’t seen the far side of 18 and she is backed by four gangly boys freshly graduated from high school. At live shows, she struts around the stage, tossing her mop of brown hair across her round cheeks, head banging and stomping like the music is too much to contain inside her tiny frame.
Chaidez has been on the music scene since she was thirteen years old, fronting her own eighties cover band (Wild Youth) before starting Kitten. Her first Kitten EP, Sunday School, was released when she was 15 years old. She lives in Pasadena, a town known for its rose parade not its music scene, but she gets her music pedigree from her father, Mike Chaidez, the former drummer of Thee Undertakers (a band big on the East L.A. punk scene in the eighties.)
Kitten’s sound evokes the eighties, but it’s much less her father’s punk than it is synthpop, featuring keyboards, sound loops, cascading drums, and operatic vocals. The teens have opened for big name groups with similar new wave roots, like Band of Horses, Paramore, and The Joy Formidable.
Chaidez’ voice has that iconic resonance of Annie Lennox or Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. She exercises her with raspy depth and vaulting screams in the title song “Like A Stranger.” The song’s chorus has the kind of anthemic power that makes you want to grab your hairbrush, your showerhead or whatever is on hand, pretend it’s a microphone and just let it all out. “I want to live forever, you know/But I can’t see past yesterday/I’m too young,” she sings on “Yesterday,” reminding us that behind the worldly voice, she’s still just a girl.
— Joanna Marshall