Kitty, Daisy & Lewis: Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Sometimes, three strikes don't make an out. Strike one: the media omnipresence of the Jonas Brothers and Olsen twins and flesh piles with the last names Hilton and Kardashian understandably tarnishing family brands. Strike two: that godforsaken swing revival, still recent enough to leave a bad taste in the mouth for pre-rock pop. Strike three: the conveyor belt of young, female British singers interpreting vintage American sounds for a new audience. So the one-sheet factoids for Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis--the three multi-instrumentalist, singing Durham siblings of Kentish Town, London: 16-year-old Kitty, 21-year-old Daisy, and their 19-year-old brother Lewis, the offspring of recording engineer Graeme Durham and one-time Raincoats drummer Ingrid Weiss, and currently opening for Coldplay at select U.S. dates--prepare you to discount the trio immediately. It all doesn't matter one bit once this album hits the ears.
Eight of the under-30-minute album's tracks are covers, but it all seductively feels like the sumptuously retro work of some pretty hep young guns. Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis sounds like it was recorded before rock 'n' roll left behind the country, R&B, and folk that shaped it in the 1940s and '50s. Husky-voiced Kitty and Daisy trade vocal duties on the lead track "Going Up the Country," reinventing the Canned Heat tune--itself a riff on Henry Thomas' "Bull Doze Blues"--as an uptempo WWII-era pop number complete with Andrews Sisters harmonizing. Johnny Horton's "Mean Son of a Gun" gets a fiercer bite thanks to Kitty's snarl and backed with a spike of guitar and harmonica. And who knew silver fox Charlie Rich's "Mohair Sam" could sound so, well, sultry?
The trio's two originals--"Buggin' Blues" and "Swinging Hawaii"--fit so well into the mix that you hope there's more in that well. So, yes, it's a tad derivative and borders on shtick. But it's also an undeniably toe-tapping, finger-wagging, hip-shaking good time.