Album Review: 1990s
Facts about this album:
* 1990s are John ‘Jackie’ McKeown, Dino Bardot and Michael McGaughrin.
* Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson were once members of The Yummy Fur alongside McKeown
* ‘Kicks’ is 1990s’ second album, and the follow-up to ‘Cookies’.
There’s nothing new or exciting about 1990s. They’re not pretty, or now, or anyone’s top tip. So why should you care?
To be honest, they don’t sound much as if they’re bothered. Take the carefree ‘59’, a jaunty hymn to a local bus route, or ‘Everybody Please Relax’, where Jackie McKeown declares, “Let’s buy a bear and move to France… quit acting cool – let’s act the fool”.
The 1990s’ second record is a romp of effortless positivity, of clever people and indier-than-thou veterans (of Glasgow scene-kings The Yummy Fur and V-Twin) making easy, breezy, awesome glam-pop because it makes them happy. It’s like The Fratellis with ideas or the vibrant album Franz should be making if they could unarch their eyebrows for a minute. Line-up changes (guitarist Jamie McMorrow was replaced by V-Twin man Dino Bardot) have resulted in a beefier, bouncier, more playful sound, with vocals shared more evenly and harmonies abounding. There’s sleaze beneath the sweetness though, from opener ‘Vondelpark’ and its tales of a boys’ weekend in Amsterdam (“They tried to teach me some Dutch/All I learned is ladies can be very loud”) or the garagey, New-York-Dolls-meets-Teenage-Fanclub ‘Kickstrasse’ where McKeown, backed by Kate Jackson, growls “Your blue bikini’s all you’ve got to wear/The way you fucked me on that plastic chair”.
But don’t think about it too hard: 1990s don’t overcomplicate their sex, drums or rock’n’roll. Long-time live track ‘The Box’ is the embodiment of the album: pure, silly, chunky fun. Like Supergrass and British Sea Power before them, 1990s’ refusal to be difficult and consistent greatness makes them a hard concept to market. But a fucking fantastic one to listen to.