In 2007 a brief digital EP entitled Wizard of Ahhhs
was released, to much acclaim from, yes, you guessed it, the blogs. Everyone and their sister was chanting "he's got two left feet and he bites my moves," and it was good. Black Kids, the rag-tag bunch from Jacksonville, knew how to make us dance, even with terrible production and absolutely no label support. Since then, lots of paper has been signed, lots of studio time has been bought, and the end result are the raw, grainy tracks once heard for free all waxed, polished, and passed off as something sellable. Are Black Kids part of the next wave of successful major label pop? Or are they a hyped up sucker-punch, nothing more than another false sense of success? Is this a "partie," or simply just traumatic?
The short answer is: neither. While what we have here is a potentially successful record, with great production that manages to retain the initial charm of the interplay between the girls chanting and Reggie Youngbloods vocals (what a great name, by the way). Tracks like "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" benefit from a little balance. "Partie Traumatic" and "Hit The Heartbrakes" also bounce with energy and irony, two staples of the indie rock roots of the fivesome. Several solid tracks, with sing-along potential and chewy instruments (the synths are neat) mean that regardless, this record has plenty of nice points.
However, the production is also along the same lines as the transformation of groups like The Killers, who capatilized off of the synth-dance-rock with their debut release a few years ago. Partie makes the same strides to mixed success, we've heard it, we like it, but is it "new?" It's a classic case of expected versus reality distorting perceptions; we were expecting another overnight blog bubble classic, and instead, we got a record that falls short of spectacular. It's not that it's bad, it's just that compared to what I had in mind for this record, it didn't clear the hurdles.
I like Black Kids. They are fun, they write good pop, and they have a knack for clever lines. Unfortunately, they just didn't make a solid record. I do think they deserve more than a picture of some sad looking dogs
. But, given the hype that helped build up their reputation, I was expecting something better. Perhaps when the Black Kids grow up, they will make a great record. The pieces are all there, they just need time to put them together. -joe puglisi