Home > TheRest > KaitO – You’ve Seen Us… You Must Have Seen Us…

KaitO – You’ve Seen Us… You Must Have Seen Us…

Devil in the Woods, 2001

Sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a guess.  The cover to KaitO’s debut record gives nothing away in regards to its musical intent, so for an affordable amount of money it was worth a shot.  I looked up what “kaito” means and apparently it’s a popular Japanese name for a boy.  Thus, my sleuthing skills have deduced that either this was going to be a bunch of manga-themed music or a sumo wrestling soundtrack.  Well, it turned out to be neither, but if anyone DOES know of a sumo wrestling soundtrack please drop me a line.

Unlike the Pulps and Libertines that tend to meld together coming from the island of tea and crumpets, these British rockers aim to make sure their sound isn’t anything too close to typical.  KaitO has elements that remind one of the louder side of the Breeders, but that may be mainly due to the slightly muffled, nasally voice of Nikki Colk.   With electronic screeches and samples KaitO isn’t going anywhere near “Last Splash”, but there are many songs here that give off a lot of pop groove.

The opener of “Thwipside” combines a light bounce while nearly overwhelming Colk’s doubled up vocals.  “Go” exuberantly continues “Thwipside”s continuous hook but showcases midway through the method of KaitO’s variety.  Just as one gets into the groove the weird sonic sounds make their way onto one’s internal dance party like a person with two left feet.  I, for one, wouldn’t mind if they just weren’t invited.  By ending the song with repeated shouts of “stop!” (ha ha .. ahem) it all just culminates in a lot of head scratching.

After a bumpy start, mainly due to acclimation of musical style, the Flaming Lips-like “Bow Wow” starts up the good beats.  Lots of feedback, cheerful hooks, and Colk’s comfortingly soft voice makes this a fine poppy endeavor.  The best track, “Catnap”, follows with its exceptionally catchy opening guitar riff and light hand claps.  Yeah I know … hand claps.  I usually hate that stuff, but they seem to work here as accents that end each riff.  Along with the song’s strong verses and consistent bridge rock outs, it really is the stand out track of the album.

As one might expect from KaitO, with the palatable comes the nervously jagged.  “Shoot Shoot” bounces between driving chorus and awkward sound collages, which might intrigue some with its variance but upset others who wish for more appeal.  After a bludgeoning, messy affair in “Povarina”, the band decides to end the album by exacting all their might into the repetitively annoying “Manual Speed”.  The song did manage to provide a slight headache after awhile.  (sigh)  With all their punkiness and bombast, KaitO doesn’t always come across as consistently enjoyable.

Nine years later and they’ve still got a website and MySpace page, yet one may find that they haven’t been updated in awhile.  Hmmm … that could only mean …

KaitO is no longer with us as they split up way back in 2006.  Although I can’t say I’m terribly shocked (if the following isn’t there, it isn’t there), it is a pity that a band that was courageous in its sound choices isn’t still around to challenge music listeners.  Solid rock bands are tough to come by these days anyway, so even the off-kilter groups are a welcome choice.  We’re gonna need more KaitO-like bands soon.  Gotta think that Sonic Youth can’t keep playing forever, right?

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