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For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Katie The Pest
This Giant Will Kill You (CD EP)


I usually try not to let fancy packaging get the better of me, but boy you have to see this Katie The Pest care package that got sent to us to believe it. The One Sheet printed on textured, organics-embedded purple-pink paper. A pink flower rose brooch pin-on thingy. An honest to god white scented candle. A tiny metal tin of English floral cachous candy. All wrapped in a nest of what looks like natural raffia paper. Wows.

But anyhow, the music is what matters right? The This Giant Will Kill You EP is an amazing disc of unembellished indie rock that comes swimming out of your speakers when you put it on.

First, please note that there is no one named "Katie" in Katie The Pest (much in the way there is no "Bettie" in Bettie Serveert). The band is composed of Mary Suzuki on drums and Talia Rose on guitar, with both girls on vocals.

And those vocals are great. Submerged in a ten ton vat of unctuous reverb (though still clear enough to be understood quite clearly), the singing recalls the bands Slumber Party and The Aislers Set. The music itself is not going to qualify as sunny indiepop by any stretch, but it avoids becoming dirge-like or sluggish. Like, they're not going to bum you out but some of those lyrics and melodies are a little dark, you know?

Drummerette Mary uses VU-like low tom hits and snare to create balanced rhythms that are more tight than say, Beat Happening but less analytical than Janet Weiss. Talia plays angular riffs that could fit easily in with Sleater-Kinney as well, especially on songs like the title track. But she keeps it mostly simple, overdriving at times and distorting at others. There's plenty of firepower in the riffs though and a good dose of droning.

Their vocal specialty which really comes through on songs like "Pretty Special" and "Life Of The Party" is a high, slightly distorted dual singing that is sometimes almost alt-countryish in feel. Sorta reminds me in fact of Neko Case or Edith Frost with an edge. They've also got this Daydream Nation type of thing going which definitely keeps things interesting for me. The end of the song "Golden" is a pretty good example of that.

It's very interesting to hear these vocals with so much reverb, because I actually heard the band play at an outdoor party once in 2001(?) where it was just plain old drums and electric guitar. I thought they sounded much different back then, but I must say that I'm impressed either way now that they've gotten their songs down on disc.


- review by SHORTY (1.3.06)        

Katie The Pest
www.katiethepest.com



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