In 2022, Kit Vale has been quietly establishing herself as one of the new rock players to watch out of the modern underground, and if you haven’t been listening to her stuff so far, her second official single and music video “Pet” might be a good place to start. Attractively surreal but focused enough to still sound like a playful grunge-pop tune, “Pet” has fewer rough edges than expected but fails to enter a realm of blandness thanks to its joyful lead singer, whose voice feels like a beacon of warmth in an otherwise chilly and unforgiving fall. It’s a layered, dirty rock number in spots, and yet this song goes down as smoothly as a cut-and-dry pop song would.
The lyrical strength this single sports would seem to be the key element of allure at first glance, but I think the compositional integrity of “Pet” runs a lot deeper than words could ever account for on their own (regardless of their depth). From the punch of the percussion to the tone of her distorted guitar, Vale isn’t leaving any of the tools at her disposal unutilized at the end of the day here; studio efficiency has been crudely mistaken for minimalism on a few occasions throughout 2022, when in fact it has more to do with using every bit of a mix as opposed to leaving unemployed space on the backend.
These strings are the perfect complement to the vocal Vale puts down on top of everything else in this single, and I don’t know that the song would sound quite as captivating were it built around any other instrumental element. There’s a raw quality to “Pet” that exists because of the duality it flirts with between pop/rock aesthetics and metallic punk weaponry, and instead of getting caught in the discord herself, this singer instead sounds like a product of originality above everything else.
Vale’s vocal harmonies are what tie everything together in “Pet,” and when you’re working with natural fireworks like these, there’s never any need to invite artificiality into the music. After all, by keeping this fairly black and white from the onset forward, she’s making it difficult for critics to accuse her of hiding behind anything other than a multi-interpretive metaphor when it comes to stating what kind of artist she wants to be via her music. Her last two singles have been deep-feeling and sonically abrasive for sure, and the video for this song summarizes the energy of her year in the spotlight without indulging in anything predictable.
If Kit Vale is able to keep the pace she’s set for herself in the last season through 2023, we’re going to see a debut album bearing her moniker that could well attract mainstream praise on the spot. “Pet” is an amalgamation of influences that could be a mere taste test for what’s about to come for her next, and though it isn’t the only indie single or music video to have garnered my attention this autumn, it’s become a personal favorite in the last month.
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