label: XS Records
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
Needs Substance When You Can Kick Out Some Fun?
No, The Kicks
aren't a gimmick filled garage band trying to take over the world,
as their "The" name might imply. They are just four
guys wondering why the "pop star radio crown" is gone,
and arty pretensions be damned, they are determined to bring it
back. While their music might not change the world I can guarantee
that you'll be humming their choruses in your head for days after
play the same sort of straight ahead power pop that is beginning
to reemerge into the mainstream with bands such as The Donnas
and OKGO, and like those bands the Kicks struggle to find room
for innovation within their bouncy pop gems. Where the Kicks hold
the advantage over other similar bands is that they manage enough
diversity between songs so that it is actually possible to tell
one song on the album from another (try doing that with a Donnas
album, you won't have much luck). The opening four tracks on the
album ("MIR", "I'll Do Anything", "Bomb"
and "Pop Star Radio Crown") provide some of the most
fun and catchiest power pop songs in years, and is reminiscent
of early Weezer without all the geeky charm (or perhaps like current
Weezer with more of it). "MIR", the strongest song on
the album, sets the tone for the rest of the album with its crunchy
power chords, keyboards, and enough "oh oh oh, do do do's"
to sustain even the most fickle of pop listeners. The rest of
the album retains the same pop sensibility and pace, and thankfully
the band sticks to the fun rock that they do best and never get
bogged down by needless ballads or slow songs.
All that praise
said, however, this is a clearly defined pop rock album that strays
very little from the genre's conventions. After the first few
great songs the Kicks too easily allow themselves to get stuck
in a pattern of power chord, distortion, melody, repeat. Because
of that the album grows tired fast and it can't be listened to
more than a few times in a row before it becomes old. If the band
could only push themselves to experiment even occasionally then
they would be fantastic, but as is they already manage to kick
out some seriously fun songs.
liked The Kicks...
2. I'll Do Anything
4. Pop Star Radio Crown
8. Banana Seat
11. The Real Soft One