Just as there are people who like non-league football because of its grassroots nature (people playing for love not money) we’re pretty sure bands like Katalina Kicks have a ready audience for their no-nonsense rock.
It’s a step above garage, and not quite as frenetic as Jim Jones (reviewed recently), just simple and direct rock. Scuzzy power riffs, throbbing bass, vocals a mix of singing and shouting, and songs never outstaying their welcome: four minutes is long, and two songs don’t break the three-minute mark. These include the explosive opener Mannequin, clocking in at 2:52 but packing in an immense amount: gnarly opening, repeated chorus, a chance for the drummer to throw in some snare fills.
It’s followed by Arms of Another, more than a minute longer so practically a prog concept for Katalina Kicks: it’s a bit slower, more melodic but just as raggedly good. To make up for lack of relative punch, singer Ian George yells his vocals into a bucket.
Guns clearly apes the intro (loud then quiet) from Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit — we’ve not got lyrics but given the title, perhaps this is deliberate. The song was inspired by the Sandy Hook massacre, and the ridiculousness of The Donald saying (post Bataclan) that if everyone in the audience had carried guns, they’d all have been safer.
Killer is more melodic, and a decent stab at a song that would sound good in a big venue, and not what we suspect is Katalina Kicks’ natural home; sticky-floored lower tier venues and pubs.