Release Date: 09.10.02
Record label: XS Records
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
Who Needs Substance When You Can Kick Out Some Fun?
by: jonathan baran
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 listening.
The Kicks 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. 02-May-2003