Listen hard enough and you can hear the heart of ’90s midwest emo still beating in Milwaukee. It lives on in newer bands like Estates, and veteran bands like Maritime. Now, add the perfectly monikered Kate Moths to that list. On the group’s excellent debut Reverse Earth After Birth (due out July 21 via Triple Eye Industries), singer-guitarist Charlie Hoehnen, guitarist Kevin DeMars, cellist Crystal Rausch, and drummer Scott Emmerich cook up an anthemic, shout-along concoction that stands with the best of vintage Cap’n Jazz, Joan Of Arc, and Nothing Feels Good-era Promise Ring.
Not that Kate Moths are entirely beholden to that era. Hoehnen is more interested in quoting John Keats (“This Living Hand”) than putting his diary to song, and Rausch gives the eight songs on Reverse an alternately tuneful and Velvet Underground-esque texture (see “Superior” and “Lawns,” respectively). Then there’s the fact that the band barrels along throughout sans bassist, giving songs like opener “Heart Of The New Riot” and “Read The Death Sentences” a sharp, nervy bent that recalls classic Sebadoh. “Lawns” is a clear standout (just try to get the “Everyone wants a lawn” chorus out of your head), while tracks like “Dawns” and “Superior” sound like a band twice Kate Moths’ size.
Kate Moths will celebrate the cassette release of Reverse Earth After Birth Saturday, July 22 at Riverwest Public House. Until then, listen to the album in its entirety, only at Milwaukee Record.