The age of anxiety is officially upon us, worldwide, so perhaps it's only right that the music that's socking it straight to the zeitgeist these days comes off something like the sound of a brain shorting out. England's Kaito throws off neurotic sparks in every direction, from the freaked-out yelps and gurgles punctuating frontwoman Nikki Colk's lobotomized lyrics to her band's seemingly arbitrary tides of rhythm and crash-and-burn volume rides. Arbitrariness, by the way, has proved the most effective weapon in interrogation -- dismantling prisoners' psyches and inducing the state of near-insanity that produces information.
Insofar as Kaito has no such nefarious designs on your brain, on its recently released album Band Red, it's kind enough to provide a few trustworthy musical elements: Bass lines emit a reliable low-level thrum, the beats reveal danceable patterns -- if you give yourself up to Kaito's Le Tigre-on-mescaline sound -- and, given the chance, Colk's melodies are likewise surprisingly sweet and hooky. This makes for the kind of delicate musical concoction that, in a live setting, could just as easily implode or shatter. But when Kaito's on its game, its songs are a padded cell for the release of your darkest spitfire energy.