This article appears in our 2017 Winter issue, Devotion. Subscribe today!
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis appear to be a nice American rockabilly–inspired band that is heavily and patriotically in love with their own legacy. On Superscope, songs such as “Black Van” and “Down On My Knees” are familiar and comforting because of their simple and uplifting melodies. We’ve heard this kind of music before: traditional rockabilly with mostly fun and high-energy love songs, music you can lose yourself to in wild swing dancing. This genre was mainly popular around 2010, with artists like Duffy, Amy Winehouse, and Holly Golightly providing dance-floor hits. Since their sound is fundamentally American in its texture and rhythm, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are an Anglo-Indian band from Britain, not the archetypical white Southern American rock ’n’ roll band they appear to be.
In her book What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal, journalist Laina Dawes painfully describes the dilemma of loving rock ’n’ roll. Her close family was disappointed in her choice to listen to “white people’s music” rather than embracing her own musical heritage, and she felt isolated within the predominantly white, heterosexual, and male metal community. I wondered if Kitty, Daisy & Lewis faced the same struggles while recording Superscope, but the album doesn’t show this kind of conflict. Through their music, they’re presenting a rock ’n’ roll heaven in which artists can make any kind of music, no matter their heritage or nationality.
The album’s fun, loving, and optimistic spirit sounds like storming through Arizona’s bare sunny deserts to drink milkshakes and eat hamburgers at the local diner. “The Game Is On” is a lively tune that makes you want to get up and dance. The vocals evoke Blondie in its heyday: “I want to take a rest/ Have fun at best/ And I don’t give a fuck.” Those lines seem to summarize the album’s theme perfectly and effortlessly. Superscope is about forgetting all your troubles and letting go of the black clouds that sometimes invade our everyday lives. It’s musical escapism, a retro haven from the outside world.
The album then surprises with “Team Strong,” a country ballad that begs a romantic setting, like holding someone tight in a smoky pub. I’ve never been a big fan of country tunes, but the sweet melody and adventurous lyrics are irresistible: “Put your face on and let’s go/ Don’t you know we can’t go wrong?” This song, as well as most of the other songs on the record, feels a bit too long, with several redundant and pale guitar solos, following the recent annoying trend of six-minute songs—at the minimum.
Perhaps Tame Impala’s 2015 “Let It Happen,” which consists of 7:55 minutes of tumbling guitar solos, was an influence on this redundant length. However, despite some of its flaws, Superscope is a must for old-school Americana fans.