Review Summary: A debut pop-punk album from straight out of the top drawer… Of your little sister’s closet.
We’ve all been there. A run-off-the mill, irritating sound that just came fresh out of the scene-oven, blurts out at maximum volume from your little sister’s bedroom while she rocks out with a hairbrush in front of the mirror singing along with the whiny, high-pitched vocals about love, death, and myspace. It’s terrible. And you love it. There’s no denying it, occasionally, and unfortunately for your image, the insatiable hooks and enthusiastic sound force you to move your feet and stretch your vocal muscles. This is that band, times 100.
Kid Down are a pop-punk quartet that hail from the metal-crazy country known as Sweden. It’s refreshing to see a band break away from the ‘In Flames’ template all other Swedish bands are intended to copy, although they do seem quite Americanized. Their image and sound is very relatable to every other pop-punk band in North America, however, they don’t rely on long song names or a ‘clever’ band name to get them recognition, and they have a certain flair and energy many other bands lack. It’s not too difficult to describe the sound of Kid Down. Think of mainstream pop-punk without all the ‘nu-wave’ nonsense. There you go. There’s no need for synths, guest vocals, poorly played keyboards, DJ’s etc. They play their own instruments and let their music do the talking. And the speech they deliver really packs a punch.
The first song you’ll hear when you, or your sister, first spins ‘And The Noble Art of Irony’, released on Burning Hearts Records by Epitaph, is “A Kid Called Down”. No, not about a kid with downs, the lyrics talk about Kid Down’s own struggle with getting noticed. It’s difficult when your band name has only two syllables and doesn’t come from America. This is one of the better songs on the album; a little lightly sung intro is all you get before you’re thrown to the lions of insatiably catchy hooks and sugary pop melodies. From the evidence in “A Kid Called Down” and almost every other song on the album, they’re very passionate about their music and seem determined not to be labelled as another cookie-cutter pop band trying to make it big. “Cut/Paste” is the epitome of the album. Immature, almost frustrating lyrics are sweetened by the unbelievably catchy chorus, and undeniable abundance of enthusiasm. “Pretty Teeth” is the album’s shining light, sure to be the single of the album. This song has been stuck in my head for the last week and it still doesn’t fail to stop me skipping tracks. The most addictive song on the album, the opening riff is wonderful, the lyrics, while immature, have a type of blissful naivety about them, and the chorus is one of the best things I’ve ever heard spewing from the mouth of an attempted mainstream pop-punk frontman. The vocal hook is unquenchably catchy, and the music that accompanies it will not fail to get your head nodding.
The real negative aspect of the album, as with almost every other pop-punk, is exactly that. It is every other pop-punk album. There is no need to use other bands to describe their sound, think of a mainstream pop-punk band and you’re more than likely right on the button. The fact that I got a skin-crawling sensation of Good Charlotte in “Luck Comes Easy” says it all. No matter how catchy it is and no matter how much energy they put into all their songs, they ultimately succumb to almost every cliché in the book. Immature lyrics, typical instrumental work, bland song structure - rocking songs and soft ballads. Unfortunately, this provides a huge lack of depth and dimension, and leaves you with more frustration then disappointment. It’s hard to be disappointed with something when you knew what that something was going to do. If you get me.
Nevertheless, the energy and enthusiasm they put into all their songs cannot be criticized. Despite sounding like almost every other mainstream pop-punk outfit, they maintain they’re dignity and self-respect courtesy of their blissful naivety, obviously proud passion, and intense love for what they do, and it is this that sets them that little bit higher than every other band that knowingly jumps on the band-wagon. And it is this reason that I would rather listen to this album than any other pop-punk album at the moment. Besides, even if I wanted to stop, I couldn’t. My sister keeps it on repeat.