“I don't wanna sing about heartache anymore...let's sing about something real” goes the chorus of one of the many outstanding tracks on the fourth album by Scottish band The Little Kicks.
There may be love and loss along the way, but the upbeat alt-pop wonders that The Little Kicks have laid out on this album also owe a lot to the bands personal journey and musical development. The songs are inspiring, structured and beguiling. It's evident that the four-piece has focused their time and energy into creating a strong album that not only contains some wonderful melodies, it's also sophisticated enough to stand the band apart from more sickly indie pop like Bastille and One Republic.
The use of string and subtle electronica when paired against the androgynous vocals of Steven Milne give the album a sanguine 80s feel to their songs, mixed with the flashy modernity of Coldplay. There's a multitude of influences to be heard along the way from the ethereal phrasing of Kate Bush to the rhythmic stride of Morrisey and even to the intricacies of The Beatles harmonies. Theme opens the album with a sinister Wendy Carlos/ Giorgio Moroder style instrumental which leads into the apologetic Sing About Something Real and the hazy Don't Get Mad, Get Even. The darker overtones displayed on the early part of the album fade away soon after to reveal a different mood to the record, as if they are literally shaking off their troubles. Let's Get Lost Together and Goodbye Enemies, Hello Friends opens up the narrative of the album to a more positive tone before slipping into the semi- consciousness of Before We Were Friends.
There are some real gems to be heard on the album, but when the band embrace their regretful and darker moments the results are terrific alt-pop anthems with an irresistible blend of psychedelia. The Little Kicks, just like the Seinfeld episode of the same name, have created a memorable, sharp, surprising and defining piece of work.
Groupie Rating 5/5