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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Review: Black Kids' New Album Partie Traumatic

It is becoming increasingly obvious that something there is that loves the 1980s - despite many naff failed attempts to bring the decade back. The zenith of the 80s is the great John Hughes filmography (Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, etc) that nailed some true colours to the mast. Songs from those movies became the New Wave American Standards (often from British bands less loved at home, like Simple Minds). Black Kids is an American New-New Wave band - they probably have another term for it (indie isn't sufficiently blunt): this music is almost homage, almost pastiche - and all Cure.

I can think of no higher praise for this fun, playful, deliriously derivative album of ten punchy songs* than to say that Partie Traumatic (due for US release July 22) is 21 years too late - and just on time. Taking as its template Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, from 1987, and mixing it with 1982's The Youth of Today, Black Kids create a timeless upbeat pop sound, whose Robert Smith vocals evoke the swooning effervescent passions of the eternal teenager. May there be eternal recurrence for such retro-bliss.
*Some reviews have spoken of the album's literary and theological implications; although such undercurrents may reward sniffers of intertextuality, the overall message of the work is so zoomingly fun, and bubblegum-thin, any deeper religion is washed blood-clean as a lamb in Alabama.
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