Cats in Boots - 1989 - Kicked and Klawed
1. Shot Gun Sally
2. Nine Lives (Save Me)
3. Her Monkey
4. Whip It Out
5. Long, Long Way From Home
6. Coast To Coast
7. Every Sunrise
8. Evil Angel
9. Bad Boys Are Back
10. Judas Kiss
11. Heaven On A Heartbeat
Kicked and Klawed by Cats in Boots is simply a lost gem from the 80s. The genre's only American/Japanese hybrid at the time, it flouts impressive playing and rich, screeching vocals to the pace of a handful of very well-crafted songs. The music is dirtier and harder than most other hair metal and bubblegum glam bands of the time, sharing more in common with Skid Row at its partiest and Motley Crue at its grittiest rather than Poison or Bon Jovi.
Shotgun Sally blares out of your speakers like the band just tumbled through your door, waving Jack Daniels and already ready to party. It's throw-a-bottle-at-the-wall punk trash that gives you an instant get-up-and-go, while raunchy, leering and whiskey-shaking songs like Her Monkey, Whip It Out and Judas Kiss (“You left your lipstick on my leather...”) make you feel just a little filthy as the guitars grind and the beat moves your hips... perfect songs for when the girls and boys get together.
Evil Angel is the most pop the album gets, with the catchiest hook, yet still with the rough and sleazy coating. Album highlights like Long, Long Way From Home and especially the rough riding Coast to Coast - “crash n burn... live n learn!” - maintain the boot-kickin' edge, every segment of the band feeling as greasy as an oil field, whether they're just chooglin' along or gunning for your gut like glam outlaws.
Most of the songs hit you like a stilleto cowboy boot in the crotch, pumping you up and rocking you out, with the notable exception of the the album power ballad, Every Sunrise.This is where the powerful and vocals of Joel Ellis (one of the best at what he does, although sometimes more than a little similar to Vince Neil) really shine, reaching up and into you as you feel his heartfelt clamours and gritty soaring wails as if he's wringing his own voice through near-histrionic passion. Lines like “Only time and space separates us now, while I'm on my lost and lonely road” might look romantic on paper, but they come out as gloriously gnarled and torn up as battered tree bark, simply dripping in acid, black treacle and no-pussy blues. For some, parts of Kicked and Klawed might seem over the top, overdone, left a little too long in the vat of booze-swigging hedonism...but hey – this was the 80s!
The superb Heaven on a Heartbeat ends the album on a rocking high, a shout-along overdriven testimony to wild young times of living rock and roll and all those hazy, crazy nights, a song (complete with sounds of girl moans) that puts you in a better and better mood the more you just let yourself go along with it, and the more you move, sing and shake.
The only significant negative of this album (providing you know what you're in for), apart from the obvious Motley Crue similarities (is that really a negative?), is that the great vibe you get from it on initial spins isn't as timeless as it might first appear. On much later spins you might feel your enthusiasm slightly waned, but it must be said that this is common to most music. Despite this grievance that stops it being a bonafide classic, Kicked and Klawed does all it ever wanted to – deliver a collection of great, fun songs – and sadly both it and the band seem to have been lost to the decade's dustbins. Perhaps because it came at such a bad time – the end of the decade, when hair metal was about to die a sad death. Thankfully a 2009 remastered collector's edition seeks to remedy this, and the music and attitude fits extremely well with its modern contemparies of today, the current insurgence of punky sleaze rock bands.
Last Updated (Saturday, 23 July 2011 09:28)