After a clutch of impressive EPs, Santa Dog have built up on their promise with an almost-perfect pop album. Not since the early days of The Cardigans and The Sundays before them, have a group embraced the values of the English cute pop so well, a lineage which goes back to the likes of Prefab Sprout.
There are certainly a lot of comparisons between 'Kittyhawk' and the early Cardigans' albums. 'Big Bang' and 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' boast simple choruses but their nagging riffs and infectious tunes are unshakeable. Furthermore, in Rowena Dugdale, the group have an arresting frontwoman whose vocals are clear, distinct, occasionally girlie but also capable of the yearning required for the 'Belle De Jour', 'West Coast Boy Racers' and 'Martyr On The Ropes'; the latter song featuring a killer switch from melancholic slow verses to snappy choruses. Although most songs here clock in at around the three minute mark, 'Chemical' possesses enough ideas and jangly pop to prove Santa Dog aren't just a singles-fixated band; having said that the meandering 'Lucky Me' could definitely have been shortened. The only other criticism is that the album versions of 'Belle De Jour' and 'Rosa' aren't quite as immediate as their EP counterparts but they're still cracking songs. Overall, Santa Dog have reclaimed indie pop's holy grail for England and if they continue in this vein they look like holding on to it for a while yet.