Best album of the year? Not so quick!
The Black Kids dropped their new album last week (in a controversy-filled week, it got side-stepped amongst the Untitled bomb - which we'll take up sometime later this week) and it's a monster. This is both good news and bad news. The EP upon which it's based has been one of my favorite albums for a long while, pretty much ever since I first heard it. With 7 of the 10 tracks on Partie Traumatic being new versions of those songs off The Wizard of Ahhhs, you'd think I'd be in good shape to have my favorite record of the year, right? Well, you'd be right, in a sense. This is the early favorite.
However, these re-done tracks just don't live up the raw, un-mastered tracks that came to us on the first EP. The Wizard of Ahhhs was raw and you could hear the the kids in the band (and I do mean 'kids') were just having a blast making the record. The sounds were rough around the edges, but it works for this pseudo-dance-punk album. The re-worked version of "Hurricane Jane" (which I'm understanding is going to be the first 'real' single from this album, since "I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend to Dance With You" was technically off the last one?) in particular is doing good things. The track order is all right, but the most important thing was keeping the first track the same - 'Hit the Heartbreaks' (spelled differently on the different albums?) is an amazing opening track. It kicks things off on the right foot, with the first sounds you hear being raw and the first lyrics containing a knock knock joke. Yeah, seriously. It's amazing.
That being said, there can be no getting around the fact that the album is a step backward from the EP. There are great things to it, and it'll be on many "Top of 2008" lists (but apparently not Pitchfork's - that's OK, though...they haven't been near the top of their game for a long, long time) for good, justified reasons. Better still is the fact that it'll draw attention back to the good musicians making noise State-side. All the positives, however, can't outweigh the bad: the record is just not as good as the EP that came before it. Hopefully, the Black Kids will realize this, take a step back, and return soon without the over-the-top production that halts this record from being an instant classic.
Hit the Heartbrakes - Partie Traumatic Version
Hit the Heartbreaks - Wizard of Ahhhs Version