Tuesday, December 20, 2011

REVIEW: The Little Kicks - The Little Kicks

Aberdeen, Scotland's The Little Kicks released their fine debut album Boxing Clever in 2009. Thus it has been a longish wait for the sophomore effort, the self-titled The Little Kicks, which was record in Edinburgh last summer and released in late November.

The Little Kicks play smart indie guitar & electro pop with an ear cocked to the dance floor. Check out "Anti Work Song" in the Bandcamp link below for a taste of the band's bouncier side (it is track two, following a brief intro piece). It may be the happiest groove you hear in a I-hate-my-job song.
The Little Kicks

The third song, "Before Today", is a catchy and tight indie pop song featuring guitars and synths.

"Making Big Decisions" -- track four -- is one of my favorites, and it is one of the two tracks most like the band's debut LP. I think that one of the reasons it grabs my attention is that the songcraft, vocals and jangly guitars all bring to mind a Texas band I loved in the oughties called Voxtrot. Interestingly, the writer and frontman for Voxtrot had spend time in Scotland studying.

"Loosen Up" is a synth-heavy track that builds gloriously from a spare beginning to club-anthem level. You can imagine the mirror ball spinning...

On the next track, "First Place", the band dials down the tempo and lets the intensity burn through the excellent vocal performance. The bit of brass in the background adds a delightful and unexpected bit of depth.

"Call of Youth" is the other song that is reminiscent of the band's debut album. Fittingly, it was released first as the album teaser. With its 60s up-tempo soul vibe, it is likely to be a favorite of many. And the band is offering it as a free download.

"Do Something New" seems to be pure, Postcard Records era indie pop. It is the lightest feeling track on the album, and likely to leave you with a smile.

"Far Too Honest", as was the case with "Loosen Up", begins with a slower tempo and the atmosphere created by the baritone vocals and synths, but then it ramps up with a Latin-style beat driving the song as the vocals increase in intensity. I think this track well-illustrates the talent of the band, because a track that could have seemed too heavy to end the album instead leaves the listen with a meaty final chapter.

By way of introduction, The Little Kicks are Steven Milne (lead vocals, guitar and keys), Scott Kelman (drums, backing vocals), Lewis Porter (bass), and Toby Brunning (lead guitar). The album can be sourced at Bandcamp, iTunes and Amazon.

I think this is a very good album. My only complaint is that, absent the intro, it is only eight tracks long. But in the holiday spirit, I forgive them.

Twitter ( @TheLittleKicks )

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