Kittymonkey – Satellites for Animals

Satellites for Animals

Australian singer Heidi-Louise Margocsy teamed up with elusive producer/engineer Eric Michael Cohen on this, the first release from Kittymonkey. Does that story sound familiar? It wasn’t too many years ago when people were talking about producer/drummer Butch Vig finally achieving fame with singer Shirley Manson and the band Garbage. Coincidence, or method for success? Kittymonkey is banking on the latter, as they hope to ride Garbage’s fame to some of their own.
In truth, Kittymonkey sound a lot like Garbage. They adopt Garbage’s successful mix of electronic and post-grunge rock lead by strong female vocals. It would be remiss to not point out the similarities, which are especially obvious on the first few listens. But more attention and more listens reveals Kittymonkey are not merely an imitator trying to piggyback along with a popular mainstream artist. There’s more to this band, as at times they incorporate elements of an 80’s new-wave aesthetic and even a more industrial sound into their songs.
The old method of putting together an album was to put the best song first or second to kick off the album, but Kittymonkey buried their best song, “Porcupine,” second to last. And the placing was successful, because by the time I heard that song, I wanted to repeat the entire album and give the songs a closer listen. It’s worthwhile doing so, for moments of brilliance on that one song are sprinkled here and there throughout the rest of the album.
But really, the songs themselves are fairly commonplace, bits of rock, post-industrial electronic, and even grunge combine around Margocsy’s voice. “Else” could be a Garbage song, and “Wednesday,” with its more atmospheric feel, resembles a Sneaker Pimps song. Most of the songs fall into either of those two categories, either more electronic sounding, like “Authentic,” or more rocking, such as “Sugar Rush” and “Belikeu.” “Seamless” has something of a subdued Brit-pop sound to it, and “Harder Place” is a moody, thick, almost morbid affair.
But it’s really on “Porcupine” where I suddenly realize that this is a talented, unique band that has a lot to offer. That song rolls around, and while it’s not the best song I’ve ever heard, it’s unique enough to stop me in my tracks and make me take a double-take, usually by hitting repeat after the closing “All that Matters.” “Porcupine” mixes electronics with a heavy, keyboard-driven atmosphere, with male vocals coming in to lend a Depeche Mode-like sound.
So, not a bad album, certainly for a debut. Kittymonkey is talented and has the ability to do something very fresh and good, if they build on the quieter, more moody sound of some of these songs. I recommend staying away from the Garbage way of things and to find different ideas for pushing their CDs. This one came to us in a paint can, which is pretty clever, except that the Post Office must have had a fit determining if it was really paint and thus illegal to mail. A paint can would have made more sense if they called the album Paint. Maybe sending it in a cat or monkey would have been more fitting? Someone tell PETA.