Album: 7 Hearts - Kitten Forever

Words: S.Frances Kemp

Kitten Forever’s 7 Hearts comes at you like a feminist maelstrom. The band is a three piece with no guitar—with Corrie Harrigan on the drums, Liz Elton on vocals, and Laura Larson on bass. From Minnesota, Kitten Forever is both satire and deeply political. On 7 Hearts the band tells cat callers to go fuck themselves and “trust no one.” With the same urgency that dates back to 90s riot grrrl acts like Heavens to Betsy and Bikini Kill, Kitten Forever’s 7 Hearts is a manifesto. 

Within seconds of the first track of the album the band presents a dire sense of ennui. "All Day" starts with a cutting line of bass that is met with Elton’s deeply bitter vocals. The song is bitingly satirical, Elton, almost laughing, tells us to “Shut your fucking mouth.” The bass lines at play in "All Day" and throughout the album are a highlight. Larson is an expert, and in each track her bass is fast and deep. In "Hail Mary" Larson’s bass runs while Elton laughs along, referencing Mary in the same breath as day to day tasks: walking the dog, trying to get a dog, and falling flat on your face.

One of the things that I am most drawn to about Kitten Forever is their place in the world of drum and bass punk. The genre has an unfortunate legacy of dudes playing around with noise pedals, playing so loud their music is almost entirely inaccessible. What I love so much about Kitten Forever’s newest album is how it dismantles this ideal.  7 Hearts is first and foremost a feminist album; it’s the exact opposite of dudes essentially jacking off to their own sound equipment. 

This is most clear in album highlight "Temple". The track is weary of bullshit, Elton reminds us to swallow our pride and kill your fear. It’s a song about growing the fuck up and dealing with it. At it’s core, that’s what 7 Hearts is about—dealing with bullshit everyday and learning to cope.  It can be very fucking hard to be a woman and make punk music and Kitten Forever is self aware of that. Despite that, they keep working and keep dealing. 7 Hearts is 15-track monster of a manifest, and in the tradition of riot grrrl past, they're not afraid to piss anyone off. That’s what makes the album so good.

mp3: "The Mirror" - Field Mouse

photos: La Luz at The Bootleg Theatre, Los Angeles, California (6/5/16)