Type Thing — available on the Bandcamp website — is a full length, home-recorded, independent rock n’ roll record by the artist known as Kitten Puppy, who I believe to be Whitehorse mailman Tom Pritchard.
It is the sophomore release for this one-man band and improves upon his first album, Good, You?, with surprising lyrical delight and an evolving garage-rock sound.
There is heavy rock riffage and there are blasts of keyboard whimsy that indicate Ween, Pavement, and AC/DC are on frequent play in Kitten Puppy’s household. But despite the infl uences, a stand-alone sound emerges.
Audio chunks or “wedges” come and go, accompanied by wordplay to laugh out loud to — if you don’t mind your cup halfempty.
The sonorous vocal tone recalls Edwyn Collins — famous for his hit single, “A Girl Like You”— with a high register that disarms the listener with self-effacing descriptions of his inner and outer worlds. “Everyone seems vaguely depressed” according to Kitten Puppy, although he gives us pleasant verses and hook-filled choruses to help us get through the day. There are also lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” and “do do do’s” to spell off the darker refl ections. “Dinosaur Picnic” is an intriguing, slightly prog-rock sounding number he chose to leave lyric-less. The track transitions from whimsical to punk rock, and it’s an enjoyable ride.
Although guitar rock dominates, the vocals are more pronounced on this record than Kitten Puppy’s first effort. They are well enunciated and alternatively darkly humourous, plaintive, and dreamy.
Type Thing lays down hard truths about everyday let downs and near misses while also inspiring listeners with its playfulness. Keep your ears open for the unexpected bridges. Kitten Puppy issues a call for rationality, not superstition on “(You say) Everything Happens for a Reason”. Life may have its share of blank spaces but at least we’re not waiting on eternal damnation. He sings:
And there’s no Lord watching you / And no angels are going to help you through… but hey, there’s no devil under you / No demons chasing you… Think for yourself.
Morrissey would enjoy some of the overwrought humour found in lyrics such as, In the long run, we’re all dead. Happy Birthday little worms. Happy Death Day… Nothing lives forever. But instead of a jangly Johnny Marr on the guitar it sounds like AC/DC mailed in a killer riff.
There’s lots variety too. “Bikini Atoll” begins with a keyboard symphony that lasts two minutes. One wonders if the song is announcing a spontaneous parade or a holiday of some sort. “More and More” is a good oldfashioned love song. It’s really spacey but crisply produced, with a well-placed curse word.
The last track is clearly in- fl uenced by Ween and there are some disturbing sounds that suggest life can go south (“to browntown” as Ween would say) but the keyboards are infectious whether they are making happy-go-lucky sounds or producing something more nefarious.
Millions of people are making home recordings that rival the quality offered here; but the variety, the heavy riffing, and the bleak but amusing perspective sets Type Thing apart.
The emerging persona of Kitten Puppy is an evolution worth tracking.
This album should be heard more widely and I think a little search optimization justice should send Internet surfers towards this record and away from pictures of kittens and puppies.
Kitten Puppy’s entire catalogue, including Type Thing, can be freely (and legally) downloaded at kittenpuppy.bandcamp.com.