Kaito | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Bands across America, from Erase Errata to the Watchers to the Ex Models (see Critic's Choice), are happily pillaging English postpunk, but not many British bands have taken an interest in revisiting that era. The Brighton quartet Kaito are one of the few, but they're not content to simply mimic arty bands like Essential Logic, the Slits, and the Raincoats. As heard on the recent Band Red (Spinart), they update the sound with techniques gleaned from the ensuing two decades--particularly the screwdriver-wedging, pitch-bending excesses of early Sonic Youth and the singsongy austerity of Clinic--and use it to give catchy pop songs an edge. Singer and guitarist Nikki Colk frequently uses electronic effects to render her vocals piercing and paper-thin, contributing to the aura of desperation created by Dieta Quantrill's frantic drumming. But her tunefulness is hardly diminished by the din. While most of Kaito's songs flail with a punk-derived intensity, the band can control its seizures: "Nothin New" crawls along at ballad tempo, and dubby melodica limns Colk and Dave Lake's spectral guitar. Still, this band is at its best when the melodies dare to leap into the ring with the snotty, noisy guitars. Thursday, October 30, 10 PM, Bottom Lounge, 3206 N. Wilton; 773-975-0505.

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