Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Black Kids: Partie Traumatic

It's funny how quickly a band's hype cycle can spin these days. A year ago, barely anyone had heard of Black Kids, a Florida five-piece specializing in bald, fairly cute new-wave rewrites. The band put a four-song EP on its MySpace page, which Pitchfork gave a glowing review, and soon a number of web folks began debating its merits. An appearance at the CMJ festival in New York prompted some sour notices about the band's live abilities, but that didn't stop Black Kids from being signed to Columbia Records. And without much fuss, they deliver: Partie Traumatic features 10 simple, quickly accessible, cleanly recorded, decently performed songs that the group and its producer, ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, buffed to a shine in the studio. "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" and "Hurricane Jane" were both UK indie hits, and it isn't hard to tell why: Singer and chief songwriter Reggie Youngblood yelps away in Robert Smith mode over slaphappy grooves, sloshed synths, and backing vocals (cheers, really) by the band's keyboardists, Dawn Watley and Ali Youngblood (Reggie's sister). None of it is revolutionary, and all of it is so steeped in early-'80s new wave that it's tempting to dismiss Black Kids as mere revivalists. But their revisions have verve.


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