Record Review: Free Kitten’s “Inherit”

Musical liberation has always been Free Kitten’s mantra. Fitting, since its core members hail from some of the past 30 years’ most forward-thinking bands: Sonic Youth (Kim Gordon), Pussy Galore (Julie Cafritz) and Boredoms (Yoshimi P-We). In that regard, the different-for-them direction these three women have taken on their first album together in more than a decade should come as no surprise.

That Inherit is such a departure from Free Kitten’s previous work, though—favoring jams over noise assaults and (gasp!) near-formality over chaos—might raise some eyebrows. The euphoric shrieks and hums that made 1994’s UnBoxed a delight don’t come frequently enough, and the rhythmic punk of 1995’s Nice Ass only stops by for brief visits. The Gordon-sung “Erected Girl” and “Monster Eye” feel redundant in their similarity to Sonic Youth. The album’s strongest statements are “Help Me” (which starts off sounding like a cassette demo before evolving into Stooges-like clanging) and “Bananas” (with J Mascis on guitar and lots of monkey sounds and commentary on social Darwinism from the band). Perhaps Inherit is a symptom of evolution: Its best moments stand among its members’ better experiments, though the rest will likely be replaced after another decade-long ice age.

—Kory Grow