“Inherit is a sort of psychedelic freak-folk record. It’s like going down and playing in the stream. Just the opposite of a harsh winter.”
Try to squeeze the love out of something and you’ll find its essence vanishes. Poof. And so it is with Free Kitten’s latest pirouette, Inherit, their third album, that is a decade apart from its closest sibling. In a recent conversation with veteran, Kim Gordon, the yin of Sonic Youth, Aesthetica learned about the all-star femme line up, which also includes Pussy Galore’s Julie Cafritz and the Boredoms’ Yoshimi P-We.
All music lovers have their old standbys. When asked about long time influences, Gordon was quick to note that Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Syd Barrett have always been mainstays, and rightfully so. “But, Free Kitten has always been influenced by the Royal Trux and lately some MV & EE.”
“Inherit is a sort of psychedelic freak-folk record,” Gordon notes. “The other Free Kitten albums were harsh, with a New York vibe. This one’s more natural. It’s beautiful like summer, blooming and green. It’s like going down and playing in the stream. Just the opposite of a harsh winter.”
Recorded at the home of J. Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr. fame, who lives near Gordon and Cafritz in the artsy outpost of Western Massachusetts, Inherit courses viscerally via non-meticulous tunings. Sure, there’s Sonic screech, and some Pussy punk so characteristic of the early Riot Grrrl years. And just to be clear, Japanoise makes a stand. But, when shaken, the cocktail far outweighs its parts.
Inherit nails it, undeniably, in the instrument that is Gordon’s voice. In the same way that dreams are seen behind the eyes, Gordon’s vocals take you by the hand to the other side. Her essence is at once lonely, ephemeral, esoteric, and oceanic. What Nico is to the Velvet Underground, Gordon is to Free Kitten (and Sonic Youth).
An excellent composition and a refreshingly arty album, Inherit is poised to draw in devotees and newbies alike with tunes like the album opener, Erected Girl, an airy and gritty guitar mantra. Monster Eye is a trippy, indie jam that requires patience to grasp its paradoxical fluidity and single-pointedness. Per Gordon, “the song’s spoken text is kind of a deconstruction of a guy playing guitar.” Bananas features J. Mascis on drums and brings punk back. The album’s achievement and anthem, Free Kitten on the Mountain, however, presents a ghostly, primordial, and ritualistic display of the feminine. There’s something intensely soft and feverish it its nature, akin to fire gazing under a quarter moon in the space between light and shadow.
Inherit as a whole pays homage to the lost art of making an album versus a hit. It sits in the belly of an emotional crucible, containing a few moments of disarray, where the hair is wild and the heart occasionally lost. There’s enough scaffolding here, however, to keep the listener focused, and enough wanderlust to keep enchantment alive. Turn it up. Dive in and swim aimlessly, with abandon, until you’re out of breath. Inherit, released in May 2008, is available at www.ecstaticpeace.com.