Review Summary: Are you a marionette?
‘Erik at Lujo Records wasn't happy to know we weren't playing songs off
New Ruins about a year after its release but we kind of said, “eh, okay.” But we were lying and went right on playing the new songs we actually really liked
.’ – Kidcrash drummer Buster Ross regarding I Haven't Had A Date In Four Years...
In case you didn't catch the vibe, Kidcrash were not at all happy with their debut LP New Ruins
. It triggered a vicious dispute with their label, cost them a hell of a lot of money, and squeezed out the creation of something that at the time their perspective viewed as phony, sub-par and unnatural. It's one thing for a casual listener to brush an album aside, but for the band themselves to shun their work is quite another. One of their complaints was that they were required to record the whole album to a click-track, ultimately obliterating the distinct, edgy feel that the Kidcrash we know today intertwine so cunningly into their unrelenting style. The vocals were forced, the production contrived; this wasn't what they wanted to be, this wasn't their sound. So fast-forward a year, the shackles are torn apart and the past erased, and they produced the I Haven't Had A Date In Four Years EP
which stuck a finger up to the world saying ‘Actually, this
Gone are the whiny, and frankly, weak vocals that failed to fully characterize New Ruins
, making rightful way to the ferocious shouting that empowers every track, darkly looming over the snaking guitar lines and unrelenting drumming. Kidcrash are much more efficient here, refusing to pass up a chance to captivate your aural senses, and always offering a completely different musical path as each song progresses that inevitably trail away into new territories. They're not afraid to highlight their assets in this way either – slyly reverting to lonesome guitar intricacies after large bursts of sound, such as in "I" in which they make ideal use of dynamic contrast to propel the track further with every phrase. Although they've abandoned most of their pop-punk traits, they hold onto its sensibilities by way of making every track still enticingly catchy whilst simultaneously unleashing a meteor of energy, a feeling which wouldn't ever have been expelled so well before. I Haven't Had A Date In Four Years
is much more riff-driven, and to positive effect, the band frequently showcasing that they know a solid song structure as well as anyone, making the whole effort very consistent. "III" is the slowest of the tracks, yet it still manages to pound along with utmost command, and fluently combined within are the intense ending chants of ‘And all the pictures you painted are coming down!
’, perhaps a further hint that Kidcrash were advancing without so much as a thought of turning back.
I Haven't Had A Date In Four Years
is a stepping stone if there ever was one, falling sweetly between the old and the new, its personality formed with a fair share of elements from both eras. "II" possibly fuses their stuck-in-the-middle sound the most effectively, making use of ricocheting vocals and choral chants over the top of snappy riffs that are almost indie in their delivery, alongside the ever-interesting work from behind the kit. The seemingly unrefined production certainly isn't a restraint of the album as it works so comfortably alongside the angst that it pulses with. The textures are rough, raw and real – only amplifying why the tracks are so musically cohesive and emotionally tender. Although some of the ideas are effectively simple in essence and not quite as cleverly written as its successors, I Haven't Had A Date
adds enough technicality to ensure you know that Kidcrash are all competent musicians, beginning to occasionally slip into differing time signatures that work effectively, and aren't just there for the sake of being 'smart'. With less of the math than Jokes
and less of the clichés from New Ruins
, Kidcrash's first EP is as a whole, more, in the way that it's a wonderful depiction of their youthful, enraged passion that would eventually flower come 2006.