Black Kids - Wizard of Ahhhs EP

Who here wants to have some fun? Now I know that the "Radiohead B-Sides" post was not all that much "fun", and to be honest, I haven't exactly been "bringing the fun" to Tuesday's On The Phone, in general. It is safe to say that my tilt towards the "dark-side" of the musical spectrum could probably be attributed to the fact that I tend to listen to music that fits my mood (i.e. I listen to sad music when I am depressed because it makes me feel normal...gives me something to relate to). You have no idea how hard I am fighting the urge right now to go on a tangent about how counter-productive this behavior is, but I will forge ahead in the name of "good times". Anyhow, I have been listening to a lot of (emotionally) "heavy" music as of late, and its time to lighten things up. Ironically enough, it took a band named Black Kids to do this.

All I can think of when listening to the Black Kids' debut EP, Wizard of Ahhhs, is how much fun this four song gem really is. Hailing from Jacksonville, FL, Black Kids are in the business of making upbeat (intelligent) pop music in every sense of the genre. From the very start (all the way to the very end) of Wizard of Ahhhs, Black Kids have this effervescent air about them, that just makes me want to move (dance! dance! dance! dance!). Every track here is worthy of mention, as they could all be on the radio right now. "Hit the Heartbreaks", the EP's opener, swaggers along to a synthy guitar rock line that sounds familiar, but manages to maintain a completely fresh incarnation here. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You", Wizard's strongest track (an MVP amongst all-stars), continues the Black Kids' brand of coalesced guitar/keyboard rock, accented perfectly with the kind of fraternizing sing-alongs that appear on most of Wizard of Ahhhs' tracks. The EP's third song, "Hurricane Jane", is more synth, framed by a staccatoed guitar, and (yet another) spectacular chorus. "I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)", closes the EP with a blast from the past that starts out early 1960's rock and roll, and ends up sounding like it could have doubled as the theme to a show like Happy Days (I say this as a compliment).

In addition to its pop bliss, Wizard of Ahhhs is littered with spectacular tongue and cheek lyrics that remind me of Jens Lekman, and are already leading to Black Kids' main man, Reggie Youngblood, collecting the ever-so-popular Morrissey comparisons (something Lekman still gets pretty regularly as well). Whether it is the brash chorus of "Hit the Heartbreaks" ("What can I do, it's not me, it's you"), the self-deprecation of "Hurricane Jane" ("It's Friday night and I ain't got nobody, what's the use in making the bed"), or the backhanded passive aggression on "I'm Not Gonna Teach..." ("The second I do, I know I'm gonna be through, I'm not gonna teach him how to dance with you, you don't suspect a thing, I wish you'd get a clue"), Reggie Youngblood is spinning gold here. Amazingly enough, no matter what Youngblood and company are singing about, they maintain a certain level of playfulness, that keep the songs light, and avoid them from getting weighed down by their own sentiments.

With an introduction to the world as remarkable as this, it will be difficult for Black Kids to stand toe to toe with a hype machine that has already taken down their name and number. However, if Wizard of Ahhhs' versatility and incredible hooks are any indication, I am confident Black Kids won't have any trouble filling out an album with their brand of catchy pop rock, drenched in wit. I guess it was about time we learned how to have fun (again).

Listen and Download the Wizard of Ahhhs EP (for free) at the Black Kids MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/blackkidsrock

- Jameson


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2 comments:

Michael said...

Couldn't agree more. Ever since hearing about them on pitchfork, i've listened to this EP about 20 times and have absolutely loved it each time. Like you said, just good fun pop music, but with sweet lyrics and an intelligent lean.

Luke said...

I promise to listen to this tomorrow and I promise to check this blog (and write in it more).

Please, though... don't get too jolly. I like your dark musical leanings, heh.