Sleepy Kitty – Infinity City

written by: July 22, 2011
Release Date: July, 12 2011


Search terms can be problematic when Googling a band. Artists such as Battles and Games have struggled with the search engine cluster-fuck—but it might pale in comparison to the trouble Sleepy Kitty will have in the coming months, which is unfortunate because their album Infinity City is worth far more than furry felines reposing. Well, probably.

The sound of the Chicago/St. Louisian couple is a throwback to ’90s fuzz pop and eclectic instrumentation, which might be the influence of guitarist and Harvey Danger alumni, Evan Sult. But no matter how many detuned pianos thump along, or trombones glissando—the circus never seems to get out of control, never coming off as accidental. Infinity City is a sing-songy work, bright and triumphant but also whimsical and sharp-witted, thanks to the vocal stylings of frontwoman Paige Brubeck. She can be alternately playful, sneering and airy, and she’s always too charming to forget.

These guys know their stuff—check the humming of “Rhapsody in Blue” on “Speaking Politely,” or their rather loose take on The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” titled “Seventeen.” Their biography lists influences as diverse as The Velvet Underground, The Crystals and even Judy Garland. None are unfair comparisons.

There’s a healthy mix of image inducing sounds and pop sensible familiarity on the album. Brubeck met Sult while she was in film school, with the band initially wanting to get “as far from their own pop roots as possible.”

Infinity City is as much a mastery of instrumentation as it is of production—songs vary in style from reverb-drenched “Way Out” to the focused edges of single, “Gimme a Chantz!” It’s a debut work that continually defies expectations—strange for something so poppy—just when you think you have the next change or have tucked them under a genre, Sleepy Kitty pleasantly surprises you.

While Infinity City is more ’90s than anything else—there are also motifs of doo-wop in the vocal harmonies, the noise exploration of contemporary artists like Neko Case and even a dramatic arch to the album. Sleepy Kitty is never short on variety; the duo also boast an impressive repertoire of graphic design—utilizing mixed media in screen printing to create everything from album art to show posters, showcasing the same kind of colorful dynamism that fills Infinity Citys sounds.

Remember that delightfully angry, not-sick-but-not-well spirit of late-’90s rock? Just imagine if it hadn’t died and at the behest of two innovators continued—with eyes for the past and the future, pop and experimentation—that’s how adorable Sleepy Kitty’s debut is.

Sleepy Kitty Infinity City Tracklist:

  1. “Gimme a Chantz!”
  2. “Speaking Politely”
  3. “Seventeen”
  4. “Way Out”
  5. “NYC Really Has It All”
  6. “Ridin’ with St. Louis”
  7. “Heavy Mother”
  8. “School’s Out”
  9. “Dykula”