Review Summary: Kidcrash: an earnest goodbye?
With an extended hiatus looming, Santa Fe, NM quartet Kidcrash deliver an EP of which they can be truly proud. ‘Naps’ doesn’t deviate a whole lot from their unmistakeable blueprint of angular, 21st century emo, and it is all the better for this. After all, ‘Jokes’ and ‘Snacks’ were fantastic albums, as was ‘I Haven’t Had a Date in Four Years…’ Ultimately, ‘Naps’ is testament to the proverb “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. That’s not to say it doesn’t stand adequately as its own piece of work though. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is the newfound emphasis placed on the bass. It is refreshing to hear it given the platform it deserves, and its role greatly propels things forward, as well as diversifying the EP’s sonic pallet. The EP carries a keener melodic edge which is a natural progression from the rest of their discography. This is greatly aided by cleaner production values, though admittedly these do slightly hinder ‘Naps’ rawer, cathartic sections. Nevertheless, ‘Naps’ is a very accomplished EP which sees Kidcrash rival their best work.
Extremely impressive fluidity, and a near-celebratory (as opposed to despairing) feel characterise ‘Naps’ and make it their most enjoyable release, as well as one of their best. The joyous crash that greets the listener on ‘Hibernationstate’
is an encouraging taste of what’s to come, and the rapture rarely lets up. Finger-tapped melodies swim in and out of one another, whilst the drums crash and roll as waves and the bass provides a captivating undercurrent. ‘Naps’ is awash with complex guitar interplay that offers a mesmerising focal point throughout, be it the ecstatic crunch of guitars and drums, and the bass’ gently throbbing staccato in ‘Unknowing The End’
, or the more introspective scarcity at the start of ‘Sleep Shock’
. However, though the textural variation here is great, the dynamic diversity is relatively ineffectual. Nevertheless, ‘Naps’ overtly melodic edge and seamless structuring more than compensate for such inadequacies.
The way ‘Naps’ is pieced together is immaculate and so achieves the impression of effortlessness. This is the case in each individual track here, as well as throughout the course of the EP as a whole. Pauses between each track are minimal and the tracks’ ordering facilitates smooth transitions, as well as an excitingly abrupt one from ‘Sleep Shock’ into ‘Naps’ shortest track, ‘Misogamist’
. The latter is particularly impressive for its ability to transition between sections of beautifully tumbling melodies and playfully aggressive octave chords flawlessly. The EP as a whole flies by in a fantastically joyous blur and this is largely as a result of its near-unbroken fluidity and dizzying rhythms and riffs.
If ‘Naps’ really is Kidcrash’s last release, then it is to be a fitting end to a splendid discography. This is not because it is their best release (it isn’t; ‘Jokes’ is), nor is it their most ground-breaking release. ‘Naps’ does, however, perhaps best represent the sound they have strived to achieve over the last few years: the intensity, the textural diversity, the playful aggression, the high standard of musicianship, the ability to craft exciting and mesmerising music. As such, it carries an almost commemorative sense of joie de vivre about it; this is a joy to behold. In this sense ‘Naps’ is what Kidcrash are (/were") about. It’s also bloody brilliant.