Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Wednesday, July 29
When Kitty, Daisy & Lewis debuted nearly a decade ago there was the hook that these siblings were teenagers, they dressed in vintage clothing and used analog recording techniques to harness a rockabilly/jump-blues sound. There was much to be excited about – and their self-titled album was, at the very least, the antidote to BBQ-reggae.
But that appears to have been a ruse – for now, grown, the Durham sisters don’t have the precocious-teen excuse and instead dress in incongruous Ziggy/Quatro jumpsuits. Mum and Dad are still in the back, making this the full family affair (Graeme Durham is a founding member and mastering engineer at The Exchange recording studio, he hides down the back on glue-it-all-together guitar and Ingrid Weiss is on double-bass here but was the drummer in the great all-female punk act, The Raincoats) and brother Lewis Durham didn’t get the memo that the jive-cat hipster-look is out.
There are moments, particularly when the slap-back rhythm section echoes around a Johnny Cash/Elvis guitar line and a train rhythm is heard off in the distance, where Kitty, Daisy & Lewis remain a fun live act. But in all the years of playing they appear to be getting worse at their instruments. Perhaps the nonchalance – and gimmick-factor audience acceptance guides the ship.
New material from the Mick Jones-produced record, The Third, features soft dancehall textures. And Kitty, Daisy and Lewis aren’t anything approaching the real deal, just musical tourists with ma and pa holding it together.
The drumming is sloppy, the singing lacking and it’s only the odd sting from Lewis’ guitar that suggests any real livelihood.
It’s perfunctory at best. And then they close the set with Going Up The Country and the old charm has been dialled up. Lunging forward in a weird sprint-stance over a snare drum, a wee whistle from the harmonica, the club-date group-huddle feel. Why it’s almost jump-blues and good ole R’n’B. Wouldn’t pass the scatch’n’sniff test of course. But it was a reminder that there used to be something there before the laziness and rot set in.
This review first appeared in The Dominion Post and online at Stuff here