Skeyes is a new full-length debut album from Windsor project KtG headed by Kaitlyn Howard of The Trudys (and formerly of The Infidels). She wrote, co-produced and performed most the instruments on the album, which includes additional vocalists Jacqueline Cadarette and Kelly Ronholm, as well as drummer Erik Gurney, who also co-produced and engineered the album.
I’m one of the fortunate ones to remember the early years of punk/pop/rockers Blondie, having worn out the Scarborough Public Library version of the band’s self-titled debut vinyl, taking in infectious songs like X Offender and In The Flesh. There’s something about Skeyes that reminds me of that old CBGBs New York pre-punk sound that Blondie captured on its debut album. A sound that the world is deeply in need of revisiting.
But it’s not an old sounding album by any stretch of the imagination – there are elements of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on here, as well as a striking similarity to The Ting Tings without their odd pop sensibility, but Skeyes falls somewhere neatly in between all three. With a focus on creating something with a bit of a hook next time out, KtG could be as awesome as The Kills with little effort.
The album is ripe, raw and profoundly emotional, as well as being a really nice fit for a Windsor market that’s packed full of stuffy classic rock cover bands. It’s predominantly an album of relationship songs, making it moody, emotional and, at times, heartbreaking.
The album begins with its strongest song Can’t Contain Myself, about meeting someone and crushing on them immediately. Instantly, it’s evident this is nothing like The Trudys. The song sounds like a killer live track, something like The Ting Tings That’s Not My Name but without the giant pop sound interfering.
Little More is the “In The Flesh” of the album and this is where that early Blondie sound starts to come in to play. It’s an upbeat song that can’t decide if it’s a rocker or a ballad and that’s what makes it a standout on an album full of deeply emotional songs. It’s about developing doubts in a relationship and Kaitlyn’s voice is a bit like early Debbie Harry.
The only track that feels a bit out of place in the collection, actually sounds like something that would be perfect for The Trudys – album closer Still Beating, with guest vocals from Paradise Grove’s Andrew Edwards. It’s about striving for final closure after a bad relationship. Performed entirely on acoustic guitar, the two singers sound great together, leaving listeners wondering what could come if the they decided to rock out together (I’m thinking something epic like a new era Rock Lobster).
Skeyes is a fantastic first effort from KtG and Kaitlyn Howard might be on to something with this project. It’s a solid work with good songs, good production and kick ass drumming. With a little more concentration on making the songs more memorable, simplifying the music and openly writing the lyrics without fear (think Alanis’ You Oughta Know), they could be important songs for this generation, just as Blondie was for its time.