Tuesday, 31 March 2009

1990s - Kicks (Rough Trade 2009)

1990s second album is a humdrum affair, similarily pitched throughout and unremarkably strident in its journey towards off-kilter power pop. Featuring a new bassist and a duet with ex-Long Blondes helmer, Kate Jackson, this is a sugary treatise on hope and blind optimism, quite content throughout and never really engaging with you on an emotional level. Opener ‘Vondelpark’ is nice enough with a rousing sustained guitar and more yelpy vocals, that hark back to previous material. Melodic and soaring, it gets proceedings off to a good start. Off-kilter wonky pop with some nice Futureheads-esque vocal breakdowns. ‘I Don’t Even Know What That Is’ is like White Denim covering Beach Boys with its sugary harmonies and plundering gonzo guitar spikes jamming all over the mix. ‘Kickstrasse’ is an ode to Beider-Meinhof and features Kate Jackson, as they sing about capitalism’s inevitable implosion.

The spiky guitars and bang-bang drums drive the songs in a fun and enjoyable, accessible way. The problem lies in its unremarkable delivery and execution. Not much of note happens and not much engages with you in a perfectly pleasant way, just like Mark in Peep Show having ‘a perfectly nice time while you’re all off your faces on drugs’. Humdrum but lovely and listenable. ‘Local Science’ is slower and more poignant with cellos and strings while ‘Giddy Up’ is quite Adam Ant in places. This is like a tribute to the 80s. Certainly not placed in the 1990s I remember. Get your rocks off in a perfectly nice way while everyone else is rocking out to Micachu this summer.


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