Pinch Kitten is Buffalo’s latest artful and insane punk band that refuses to be boxed in. They go by “Buffalo Barf Punk,” an absurd tag that feels fitting for the group who enjoy playing misfit mixed bills, polar shifts in their sound, and constantly rotating vocalists.
The volcanic intro track, “Sour Punch” is a loud rager that builds toward an even louder energy of pure punk detonation. Even on the intro, Pinch Kitten, along with Curly Sue’s first vocalist, Koala Manne, already sound like they’ve damn near lost it and are ready to tear everything down around them in a fiery rage.
A new vocalist, Calvin Hardick, arrives in a similar manner on “Hippie Poems.” This character is just as angry, but instead, their bratty, more lyrical delivery juts out at an even faster pace. “Curly Sue,” also sung by Hardick, is a self-affirming indie song which feels both like a laugh and a cry. The track, previously referred to by the band as “The Happy Song,” explores Pinch Kitten’s softer side, somewhere between heartfelt Cobain and grungy Neutral Milk Hotel. A warm pulse of distortion kicks into gear halfway through the first verse, propelling the remainder of the track.
In a transition so abrupt it’s comical, they jump back into the chaos on the EP’s finale, “Neolithic Talking-Box.” The noise-rock beginning twists into an experimental spoken word section, in which a walking bass line slinks ahead, and creaky jazz drums swing in the background. Hardick murmurs a bizarre poetic drama muttered in an accent that feels Beefheartian. Next, an off-kilter drum solo builds before a familiar blast of guitar, except it’s a fake-out ending complete with a vibraslap before the real screaming begins a few measures later. At this point it’s not even “damn near” – the group sounds like they’ve truly lost it. Check out the lyrics of this neurotic fever-dream of a song for proof.
Hardick describes the song as both an “over-the-top fun thing” as well as something “very-deep and personal.”