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Album review: Black Kids

Rock

Black Kids

Partie Traumatic | 5 stars out of 5

The Black Kids are, with their debut album Partie Traumatic, instantly the coolest “kids” in music. They've taken everything modern and relevant — from Killers-esque vocals to non-retro synth work — and rolled it into one of the best albums of the year without a sour track in sight.

They ought to sell iPods with this permanently burned into the memory so you'll never lose it. Who knew Jacksonville, Fla., could produce a band this fun?

The vocals on the title track are smart without being smarmy. A jangled, funk-infested guitar supplies the energy, and spooky synthesizer sounds dance around the aural foreground. “This jungle is massive/ So please don't be so passive/ Be impressive, impress us/ And they will get the message,” goes the opening salvo of this charming track.

Listen to Your Body Tonight is in overdrive from the very beginning. The band digs in heavy from the first note and never lets up on this memorable songs about following your sexual intuition.

Part of the appeal of the Black Kids' approach is that they nail the technical delivery of each song on all fronts. The vocals, for the most part, sound like The Cure's Robert Smith on helium. If the music were understated, it wouldn't work as well, but the songs have a habit of coming to a crescendo nicely and giving lead singer Reggie Youngblood a platform on which to soar.

If they are to be faulted for anything, it's for being a little too hook-heavy. But at least the hooks are good. Most of the songs are about sex and love and sprinkled with randy language throughout, so tender ears beware.

Ron Harris, Associated Press

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