I find it impossible to dislike any aspect of Kirsty MacColl. She was a trier, tirelessly honing her craft, refusing to sell herself short or compromise her material for anyone, be they record companies, her expectant fans or her father. Sadly for all her obvious talent and verve, she struggled to record a consistently satisfying album. She came very close on a number of occasions, but it’s a sad fact that only albums that reflect her in her best light are the compilations Galore: The Best of Kirsty MacColl and From Croydon to Cuba… An Anthology and as such remain her definitive releases.
Kite is as close as we heard to Kirsty releasing a fully realised studio album, with it’s mix of sassy pop tunes and more reflective material. It contains her strongest concentration of great songs and some of her very best lyrics, as well as a smart Kinks cover and a version of a Smiths tune which doesn’t reek of smugness. It’s also the only album of hers that her father actually approved of, it manages to avoid the production overload which blighted her next album (the decent, but flawed, Electric Landlady) and almost put her on the map sales wise.
Song wise, Kirsty is on good form as she kicks the arse of blokes in the way that only she can. “Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim” is one of her definitive ‘bloke’ songs and is a highlight, as is “Fifteen Minutes” which is a withering dissection of the lust for fame and marks her out as one of the most intelligent songwriters of her generation.
Kite isn’t a flawless release, but then Kirsty would be the first to admit that she wasn’t a flawless person. As such this is an album which reflects Kirsty MacColl’s personality best and is therefore a likeable release at worst.