Led by Kate Grube, Chicago, Illinois-based emo rockers Kittyhawk are a band determined to make you smile and weep in equal measure. Featuring members of Dowsing, Pet Symmetry and Into It. Over It.’s live band, their ‘new’ album features a collection of songs – released between 2012 and 2016 – that were not featured on the full-length record, ‘Hello, Again’.
Rather fittingly, ‘The First One’ opens this collection of songs in a breezy Bully style, complete with back-and-forth vocals covering how important it is to help each other. ‘Older/Wiser’ follows with The Weakerthans-style hooks and Kate passionately singing about finding places that are ‘safe for fainting’ and how, once found, ‘we’ll stay there long enough to say goodbye’. ‘Science Fiction is more eerie and incidental with the band dipping their toes into the post rock spectrum before ‘He Travels in a Suit’ heads back into the more melodic and twinkly space – complete with compelling yet heartfelt observations: ‘You’re so much taller than I thought you would be. It’s gonna be harder to push you away’; ‘You like me because I don’t dress like other girls and I’m barely repulsed by a shade of green’.
The sadness seeps through the slow-burning storytelling of ‘Partial Paradigm’ (‘You just act so wise. If you give me a dollar, I bet that I’ll piss off these guys’) and the Beach House-with-an-extra-layer-of-feedback stylings on the cover of the festive classic, ‘Silver Bells’. ‘The Red’ bursts into life with power-pop hooks, an irresistible drumbeat and tender lyrics about lost loved ones and the fact ‘I’m always hungry just to hear them say I’m their one and only’. ‘The Daily Dodger’ captures the spirit of Evan Weiss or Mike Kinsella with its stop-start riffs and soul-searching, self-questioning lyrics – ‘I’m signing a treaty, I’m blowing a kiss. What did I ever do to develop an aversion to you?’ – before the breezy intro of ‘Food Fight’ takes a decidedly darker turn. The spectre of romance runs through ‘Soft Serve’ before things are wrapped up with a soulful cover of Kim Wilde’s ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’. You can hear – no, feel – the emotion in Kate’s face when she asks ‘Why don’t you get out of my life and let me make a brand new start’.
One listen and this collection will not only be ‘Mikey’s Favorite Songs’ – they’ll quickly become yours, too.