24 May 2008

THE COOL KIDS – The Bake Sale EP – 2008 – EP review

THE COOL KIDS – The Bake Sale EP – 2008 – EP review
HIGHLIGHTS: '88 – What It Is – A Little Bit Cooler
SOUNDBITE: “How gangsta’s that?/ Not gangsta at all/ Aw you judging me dog?/ Please! You shop at the mall!”

“What it is, what it is/ Come check the noise/ It’s the new black version of the Beastie Boys” – Christ - this lot have had more hype than a new series of Big Brother- the question is was it all justified or has the emperor simply got himself a new set of togs. Well – arguably a bit of both – though even if it was the latter - this emperor isn’t totally naked and he looks pretty fresh. Nevertheless – (as always) it depends what you’re looking for in your hip-hop. With Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish this means rhyming about your BMX (Black Mags), girls (What It is) and those lame fools that slag off your (lack of) style and then go and copy it (“But I don’t get it though/ About a year ago/ You said my gear was wack nigger/ Now my gear is dope?”) over music so pared down there isn’t even bone left – just the marrow. Yes that’s right - The Bake Sale largely reboots the hyper minimal approach of the Beastie Boys’ Licensed To Ill - especially tracks like Posse In Effect. The tracks on the EP typically feature one note synth basslines, synth-y kick drums, handclap snares and very little else. It’s the sort of thing that could only have been concocted by a kid – albeit a cool one. Or Rick Rubin. Mind you, there’s no way he’d have been able to resist chucking in more cut up Led Zeppelin riffs. The Cool Kids pretty much draw the line at guitars though monster track '88 does feature a very Rubinesque taste for fat guitar stabs though this is a slightly different version to the one that got released on the bootleg Totally Flossed Out EP that leaked last year (which pretty much blew the lid on most of the tracks included here) and the riff has been dropped lower in the mix. One track that offers a slightly different vision is What It Is which channels the spirit of Eric B & Rakim and comes on like Lyrics Of Fury or Let The Rhythm Hit ‘Em musically though the rhymes are strict party flows about nothing more weighty than deciding which chicks to hang with (“…I’ll take all three/ But The truck that I’m in’s only got two seats/ And I’m In one so you know what that means/That means it’s decision time”). It’s all done with tongue in cheek though – they’re not playas and prepared to take the piss out of themselves “…to the penthouse, so that’s two left for you Chuck/ I ain’t got no penthouse!/ We party on the rooftop.” Does this mean they’re a simple retro one-trick pony literally “Bringing ’88 back” and riding pop culture's current fascination with skinny jeans, high-top trainers and dayglo geometric patterns? Well it’s not quite as simple as that. Yeah, they do reference an earlier era of hip-hop history than Jurassic Ugly Stairs in the simplicity and style of the song structures but they don’t have that bratty delivery of the Beasties though. Chuck and Mikey favour a much more relaxed vocal delivery – probably because they’re too cool to shout - and the nature of the sounds they use has a much in common with hyphy as it does with Def Jam in the mid-eighties. Also, I reckon they’ve worked out that shit this simple won’t have subtleties that will get lost played over a shitty-ass set of mobile phone speakers – a key factor in getting the kids on-side you might agree. Judging by the popularity of ’88 though they could probably have afforded to play the guitar card again and the furious drum onslaught of What It Is suggests they could have varied the style here somewhat with great levels of success – still – you want to keep something back for your album (When Fish Ride Bicycles due for release sometime in the near future) don’t you? Anyway there you have it, fat beats, wry lyrics – it’s the soundtrack to your summer BBQ and the party after. The only wack thing about these two is their name. Still I expect that’s the point.
Out now on Chocolate Industries.

Listen to The Cool Kids – The Bake Sale EP
The Cool Kids - Myspace

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