Black Kids – ‘ROOKIE’ Review

Black Kids - ROOKIE - cover

Black Kids, the name may sound familiar, but it’s been a long time since we’ve heard from Reggie Youngblood and company. With the release of Partie Traumatic in 2008, we were granted with a sugary sweet album of catchy hooks with melancholic playfulness, wholly rooted in traditions you may find inside 80’s goth clubs. I for one found Partie Traumatic a welcome refreshing album, and was even more enamoured with their EPs Cemetery Lips and Wizard of Ahhs. Since the radio and soundtrack dominance of ‘I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You’, Black Kids has been wholly silent. After some muddled information, perhaps a long needed long break for Youngblood, whether or not the rumors of increased anxiety are true, I am glad he and the rest of the Kids are well and still working.

ROOKIE‘ is the return that I, and I would posit many others have been waiting for, though it may not exactly live up to its predecessor. With this album, there is a return to the notions of young love, awkward sex and the impending excitement and subsequent hangover of a house party, both musically and in concept. (Look at that album art, I cannot comment on this particular aspect further. If you know the ‘S’, you know, and you sigh.) There is not too much new to report here unfortunately. The opener, ‘IFFY’, gives a sweet infectious hook that brings back a nostalgia for Partie Traumatic, it’s peppy, bright and innocently silly…but it carries on a minute or so over it’s effectiveness, but be assured, you will have it rolling around your skull all day. Maybe even all week. The next two tracks take us into the turmoils of confusing love/like emotions through the lens of The Cure, which colors the majority of these tunes. On ‘In A Song’ there is a bit of subtle unsubtle wordplay in order to poke fun at the notion of writing and singing a love song for someone. ‘If My Heart Is Broken’ is a wide-eyed danceable track that questions the nature of heartbreak and how the body carries on.

As we roll through the album, there are few true highlights as we’ve heard most of this before, and in better form from Youngblood, the true standout track comes toward the end of the album. ‘Obligatory Drugs’ is a menacing invite. Black Kids drop the facade for a moment and make perhaps the most terrifying lo-fi party anthem I have ever heard. Cool loungey piano and bass permeate the track punctuated by lyrics that creep and repeat. Perhaps it is not with intended malice, but being such a shift from the rest of the candy-gloss, heart-string pulling tunes, it starkly stands out above the rest. If they had done with the album what they had done here, ‘ROOKIE‘ would be something so much more.

To sum up, I am ever grateful that ‘ROOKIE‘ made it’s way out to us, if not the triumphant return I have been patiently waiting, it is indeed a return that has me excited to see what they put out next. I’m having a motherfucking party at my motherfucking house, are you in or are you out? ‘ROOKIE‘ is available now here:

Standout tracks: IFFY, If My Heart Is Broken, Obligatory Drugs

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