-Caterina’s Take- Item 9 & The Mad Hatters: Old Style

Alright people, let’s all pretend that we’re still sixteen. Mom and dad don’t understand you, this world is too narrow for you, you can’t find a place where you belong, everything’s fucked up but music saves you every time. You just have to put on a record and close yourself in your room: you can feel your emotions in songs, they talk straight to your soul and you feel a little bit better when you listen to them. If you’re a rock loving teenager all you want to find is the right band to follow and adore.

Now, pretending I’m still sixteen, I listen to a brand new band: its name is Item 9 & The Mad Hatters. And this is their debut record. The first thing I find is that there is a lot of energy in their work. The sound is powerful enough to make you feel like you’ve chosen one of the most interesting things around. The second thing I noticed is that this album is a mix of several kinds of music. Blues meets funk who meets grunge then says “hi” to rock’n’roll. You will think that this is awesome and there is a lot of ideas in this album but the third thing I saw is that all these genres, in one, don’t make a proper sense. Of course it is amazing that a band has these kinds of influences but listening to the album, track by track, I feel lost and confused.  I struggle to find a proper cohesion. Maybe it is because I stopped pretending that I’m sixteen. I found that suddenly I get bored while listening. The first track is amazing, “O Henri” is a pure rock song with vocals that remind me of Jack White and it really turns me on. A perfect song for a savage party with beer and puke on the floor, it is only rock’n’roll but I like it. “The White Light” sounds like a step-sister of some of Dead Kennedys song, while “She Moves Like Rain” is a funky-groovy blues song. So far so good, maybe it’s not the most original album of the 2012 but it’s fairly honest and genuine.

Despite this, there is still something that doesn’t work out. “Amerijuanica” is another high point of the album, not high enough to cover the lacking aspects of this album but it’s a good song with diving guitar riffs and a drum solo that ends with the “pub-chorus.” “She Needs It” starts with a remarkable bass line that leads the singing until the “hooligan-chorus.” “Jetplane” is the funkiest song of the entire album and everything ends with the same fan to which began. Actually the album doesn’t sound bad at all: this band has a lot of potential. But on the other hand, you have to handle this potentiality if you want to produce good work, and Item 9 & The Mad Hatters have to realize it as soon as they can. We’re not sixteen forever.

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