January 16, 2008
Black Kids University Of London Union; Thursday, December 6
The new hyped kids on the block show they have both style and substance
Hungry? Because blogosphere-bedazzling booty-shakers Black Kids are dishing out the pop tapas. Why, the Floridian five-piece figure, settle for just one kind of musical deliciousness when you can have a bit of everything?
Everyone’s new favourite band, they take the Morrissey-indebted clever-clever lyrics and titles of Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy, but couple them with music that doesn’t actually make you want to stuff your fingers in your ears. With the driving guitar energy of You Say Party! We Say Die!, the twisted pop nous of The Spinto Band and the fat synths of The Rapture, they’re an all-you-can-eat buffet for the ears and the feet.
So, while Black Kids might (apparently) be this year’s CMJ sensation and the toast of the internet, and while David Cameron’s PA is probably frantically loading them on to his iPod as we write, you can put your slingshots away. They might only be one self-released, four-song EP into their career, but tonight, opening for camp electro headcases Of Montreal, Black Kids are seriously tasty. Their poppy accessibility, combined with just enough complexity, has endeared them to many, as has charismatic lead singer Reggie Youngblood, whose impassioned wail recalls The Cure’s Robert Smith, equal parts sexy and angsty. Never throwing the baby of danceability out with the bathwater of superficiality, ‘I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again)’ sprinkles all the sha-la-las and tambourines an indie dancefloor could desire. ‘Hit The Heartbrakes’, with its great Hot Hot Heat-ish melodies, showcases the sassy interplay between Reggie’s howls and the girlie back-up yelps from his sister Ali and Dawn Watley. The Kids certainly seem genuine, giving themselves over wholly to the vibe, Dawn flicking her fringe in time and Reggie stomping punkily, the whole band joining in on co-ordinated overhead handclaps during the disco breakdown.
“Go on, Black Kids!” someone yells. “OK,” says Reggie, sounding slightly bemused, “let’s keep it going here.” Obligingly, the band serve up ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You’, with its joyous chanty chorus and something like love begins to blossom. Stay calm, though; they’re not, as some claim, the new Arcade Fire. It would be a shame to see them drown in hyperbole and become, instead, the new Clap Your Hands Say Who?
They finish with a new track, ‘Look At Me When I Rock Wichoo’, all glammy, Franz-y guitars and Go! Team style chanting from the girls. A feast of fun with a side order of smarts? Thank god, we were starving.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday
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