Reviews are starting to come in for the new album – which is out next Monday- less than a week to go! Few more to come but here is a FANTASTIC write up from The Leftover Sessions. Thanks to Mary Machin and another wonderful illustration there too from her also!
REVIEW: THE LITTLE KICKS//THE LITTLE KICKS
Posted by Mary on Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Illustration: Mary Machin
In the follow up to 2009′s Boxing Clever, The Little Kicks leave no stone unturned where their lamenting yet up-tempo music is concerned.
The confidence instilled from building up a sturdy hometown following in Aberdeen seems to have trickled into many songs on this album, this being true of opening track, and personal favourite, ‘Anti Work Song’. An encouraging factor within ‘Anti Work Song’ is the manner in which the quartet clearly aren’t afraid of variating rhythm, in both the vocal and instrumental departments. As far as accenuating features go, the award has to go to the percussive detail beneath the vocal “I don’t want to be the one who spends their time getting nothing/When it comes to working time it kills and kills and kills and kills me dead” and Steven Milne’s undeniably Scottish pronunciation of “seriously”. The devil’s in the detail, eh?
The Little Kicks are notoriously good at penning rock steady and melodious tracks, ‘Making Big Decisions’ being no exception. Beneath the track’s upbeat mannerisms the lyrics express a contrasting situation of losing faith in someone, a tension that drives the song forward and highlights it as a real grower of the album.
Another favourite is found in ‘Loosen Up’ which contains a very unique energy in the midst of the album’s other tracks. The overt presence of the bouncing bass-line throughout the song’s opening suggests darker overtones, a misconception that soon comes away to reveal an inventive mixture of the lamenting and cautionary.
Where The Little Kicks can create atmosphere through astute layering, they can also do so in an entirely opposite, sparse setting. Proof of this can be found on ‘The First Place’ which strikes as wholly familiar for reasons that escape me. The song’s crowning glory, from a personal point of view, comes as the horn section first joins in, acting as the sole accompaniment to Milne’s vocal. Had ‘The First Place’ continued in this vein, the song wouldn’t have lost any points in my book. More layers are added, however, which is no bad thing either, this meaning ’The First Place’ is given a careful, tempered drive by the rhythmic and instrumental choices, particularly in the slight build in the fourth minute.
‘Far Too Honest’ strikes as an unsettling closer to an otherwise upbeat album, mainly because, due to its departure from the album’s over-riding style, it demonstrates The Little Kicks’ scope and raises the question of what they could have done with a couple of extra tracks. The song’s atmosphere is almost that of a hidden track that creeps up on you just when you think you know what’s coming next. The looming organ, Milne’s echo-ey vocal and the stealthy drums all contribute to the imagery of a film noir piece, the black and white shadows and mysterious individuals becoming incredibly palpable at the most cataclysmic moments of ‘Far Too Honest’.
Album highlights: ‘Anti Work Song’, ‘Loosen Up’, ‘Far Too Honest’.
The Little Kicks is out next week on the 28th of November