Review Summary: "You say lately you feel empty all the time /
Price you pay for opening your mind"
There are a lot of bands out there who get praised for having “mastered their craft.” I think usually that’s just another way of saying, “This band is not groundbreaking, but they’re not trying to be, and personally, I just like their style.” This is something I would say about Little Kid. Another band I would talk about this way is Wilco (at least regarding their post-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot albums). This is fitting, because Little Kid’s style on this album seems to take influence from Wilco, or at the very least alt-country (a tag they’ve used on their bandcamp). I’m sure there’s plenty of bands out there they’re more similar to, but it seems fair to describe this album as Wilco mixed with Elvis Depressedly. It’s mostly alternative/indie singer-songwriter sorta stuff, with crisp drums, a slightly out-of-tune piano, and some quirky lo-fi production and effects scattered around.
I’ve listened to Little Kid for a while now, and Kenny Boothby’s voice doesn’t really stand out to me anymore, but it is unique. It’s light and nasally and sometimes strained. Mathew Lee Cothran is probably a good comparison. For the most part, Little Kid has been just him, although recently they seem to have become more of a solidified group. Boothby’s lyrics deal mostly with love and religion, usually intermixed. On recent albums he’s taken to telling stories in voices other than his own. “Two Invitations” is the story of a separated couple meeting up at a friend’s wedding and making apathetic small-talk just to pass the time. The scene could be an apt metaphor for the general mood of the album. Yet there’s also a deep sadness that comes through in lines like, “You’d share your cigarettes, if we could only find a light.” This sadness is the driving force of the album, I think. Through vagaries and obtuseness we hear lines uttered by sad, tired people in broken relationships, trying to find a light.
To be honest, I’m not sure I understand what this album is about, or if I even think it’s all that great. But I like the band’s style. By which I mean I think it’s sincere and well-composed. And I think if you can relate to the general, very broad sentiment of trying to find a light but also suspecting that maybe “the only light is our own,” there might be something here for you. Might as well give it a listen.