Knock knock… Who’s there?

6 08 2008

Check it out! The first ever Fabakis record review! 

Black Kids-Partie Traumatic (Almost Gold/Columbia)

Fact: The opening track, “Hit the Heartbrakes”, on new Black Kids album, Partie Traumatic, begins with a knock-knock joke. And, although it’s a pretty good knock-knock joke and even rhymes, I can understand if some people might not be amused. Those people may not want to listen.

However, for those who will listen, Partie Traumatic serves up a delicious helping of the same raucously catchy twee pop that won Black Kids critical acclaim last year on their Wizard of Ahhhs EP.  The album contains enough sugar-coated hooks to send a diabetic listener into a coma. The overall energy and dance-y vibe of the album are impeccable.  And upon further inspection, the sugar-coating is not merely hiding empty calories.

The lyrical content is, on the whole, pleasantly witty. And, though it makes no pretensions at being a “serious” album, it has enough angst and emotion content to make you believe it wasn’t just written for the sake of putting things together that rhyme. The band offers cute and clever takes on unrequited love, unwanted love and even a few zingers about drug abuse in “Hurricane Jane”. The listener will inevitably find themselves chuckling along at least a few times while identifying at least a bit with the protagonist (or protagonists when Reggie and Ali Youngblood team up for some boy-girl vocal back and forth, as happens several times on the album).

The only problems come when you stop laughing with them. Occasionally, the cleverness falls through and all thats left is a hook and some insipid lyrics. On sex, for instance, the lyrical success varies widely: “you never wanna give me some/ you’re getting off on kingdom come” is decently clever; “listen to your body tonight/it’s gonna treat you right” is less so. Granted, the latter would be perfectly acceptable in a standard pop song, and the hook is enough to give Katy Perry a run for her money, but I’d like to think Black Kids have higher standards.

There are certainly other spots where the wit or hooks fall through, or the twee coating wears thin, leaving the listener un-wowed, but on the whole, the album offers a energetic and entertaining ride. It doesn’t wear out either; I’ve listened to the album 5+ times in the past 24 hours and my foot is still tapping so vigorously it’s hard to type on my laptop. On the title track, Reggie shouts that “this song is the tits”. On the assumption that “the tits” is a good thing: This album is the tits!

Overall Score: 8/10

P.S. I’ve seen several complaints around the internet that the entire Wizard of Ahhhs EP is on this album so fans are paying for material they already have. To this I say: the EP was free in the first place, so its not like you’re paying for them twice and the new recordings are better anyway, so get over it.




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