I was a little disappointed by Kittie’s newest release. This isn’t so much a criticism of I’ve Failed You as it is praise of their previous effort, In The Black. That was the best album they’ve ever put out and I don’t know how any band could follow it. Perhaps they should have started their career spanning documentary before working on I’ve Failed You.
The album starts out solid with the chugchugchug of the title track. Morgan Landers’ Linda Blair vocals mesh well with the blistering guitar riffs, but “We Are The Lamb” doesn’t have the same hook or energy and by the second song I’d like to hear her clean voice, although “Lamb” does have a superior guitar solo. “What Have I Done?” is a nice, long slow burner with beautiful lead work. I also really enjoy “Empires (Part 1),” an acoustic instrumental into the great “Empires (Part 2).”
The second half isn’t as strong, but there’s some cool harmonizing guitar work on “Already Dead.” “Never Come Home” features one of those vocal hooks that make me love Morgan Lander so much. And “Time Never Heals” is a great mid-tempo closer. I’m not sure why, but I love it when artists end albums with slower, plaintive tracks. Plus it has the best solo I’ve ever heard from this band. (And perhaps one of the best outro solos from any band.)
It’s interesting to hear females playing lead guitar. Until I thought about it I didn’t realize that there really aren’t any female lead players. I’m not sure why that is, I’m sure women can add something to the art form. After all, they’ve managed to make contributions to every other aspect of art, literature and life.
I’m also a little surprised that Tara McLeod’s solos don’t sound feminine. I know that sounds sexist, but hear me out for a minute – Any guitar player will tell you that the biggest influence on your sound is your fingertips. Amps, fine woods and distortion pedals make a difference, but most of a players sound comes from their fingers. Two people with identical rigs can sound different because of this. Now, we all know that men and women are physically different. If they weren’t we’d all be bisexual. We all know that female voices sound different (most of the time) so I guess I was thinking that lead guitar work might also have this difference.
Of course, I can’t explain why I wouldn’t have noticed it in a girls chord or bass work.
Even though I’ve Failed You isn’t my favorite Kittie album, I still have to praise them for taking chances and not re-releasing the same album over and over like so many artists I loved from 1999 have done. I’m more interested in a band that grows, matures and challenges themselves than I am in a group that just plays it safe with a few radio-friendly hits and some filler.
And while I won’t lie and say the fact that this group is composed of four attractive females has nothing to do with my love for them, it is nice that as the father of a little girl I can point to at least one all-girl group from my generation and say “See! You don’t have to be a teenybopper singer or a bass player! You can ROCK too!”