by / March 11th, 2009 /

1990s – Kicks

 3/5 Rating

(Rough Trade Records)

Glasgow’s 1990s signed for the iconic Rough Trade Records after only six gigs, and second album Kicks quickly shows us why. An infectious feel-good summer record, Kicks sounds how The Feeling probably did before the producer came along: full of catchy melodies, gentle indie-rock rhythms and even the occasional playful social rant. It’s guaranteed to sell.

Opening track ‘Vondel Park’ is comfortably the albums strongest: a raw, vibrant indie-pop singalong that wouldn’t be out of place on an NME compilation. ’59’ embraces quirky variations of pitch with Mika-like vocals, adding a new element to the impressively powerful dual-voice choruses. ‘Kickstrasse’ leans more in the direction of a popped-up White Stripes, feedback and all.

Kick does have one serious flaw, though: lyrics. ‘Vondel Park’ aside, Kick’s vocals are almost trite to the point of irritating. In fact, the album succeeds in saying pretty much nothing of any interest for its entire duration. As compelling as the tight musicianship can be, it’s difficult to see too many singing along to opening single ‘The Box’ without cringing: ‘I think I’m going to have to put you back in your box, that’s the place I keep my purse and socks’. Right.

1990s aren’t going to win any awards for originality. In fact, the name is very apt, but in Kicks they have a passably compelling pop record. At times it sounds like a 40-minute Fountains of Wayne B-side, but, if you can put the lyrical inadequacies aside, it’s surprisingly listenable.

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