If first impressions are what make or break an artist, Cadette is a whole bunch of angry. The Minneapolis, MN trio’s debut release Flesh Without Hunting rips through eight songs, drawing a heavy 1990s influence but maintaining their own identity, rooted in the present, throughout. The easiest point of reference comes with vocalist and primary songwriter Laura Larson’s previous band, Baby Guts, but Cadette is a new project with a more focused sound that’s a bit harder to box-in.
While easiest to describe it as “punk: loud and angry,” there’s more at play. The songs are all heavy, but they don’t necessarily pummel with drums and big chords. There is a lot of variation to the tempo and vocal styles over the record, but there’s always that sense of being pissed off, more akin to the grunge and riot grrrl movements than the straightforward, emotion-on-your-sleeve element of modern punk. Take 1990s Sub Pop and DIY it up a bit.
However you describe them, Cadette have a consistent sound and it’s likely that if you don’t like opener “Animal,” the record isn’t going to win you over later. Starting with a stomping beat and Larson’s snarled opening verse, it builds to a unison gang-shout vocal, with a bass solo transitioning back into the next verse. It’s music that can be both fluid and abrasive, with the back and forth giving something of an exclamation point when the volume gets turned up.
The rest of the record varies its sound well, limiting the dynamic shifts and, instead, using tempo changes and melodic guitar to separation each of the eight songs. Second song “Teething” is a melodic romp for the first ninety seconds before building into a throat-shredding rager at close. Just after this, though, comes the winding “Heavening,” which uses the apocalyptic bass line and occasional screams to create a multi-faceted song that well exemplifies the band, even if it isn’t a standout. While there is definitely a bit of genre convention to Cadette, their songs blend a number of influences into the overall structures that gives them both a cathartic and unpredictable feel—which is a difficult balance to achieve. With “Heavening,” the song may run at 2:44, but it feels as though it’s covered far more ground than your standard 2-3 minute song. For being lumped into a punk category, Cadette really mixes up their songwriting.
“Swell” and “Collecting Strays” definitely show some Kill Rock Stars influence, but they don’t feel like mere knockoffs either, and the tempered aggression plays well in the overall record’s pacing, which somewhat slows after the first two shouters in “Animal” and “Teething.” Flesh Without Hunting is a well-balanced record that covers a lot of range, with each member of the trio taking the wheel and steering the songs at different points. While the tempos more or less slow down as the album progresses, the variation and shortness of the record keeps it from losing its momentum.
7.0 / 10
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