Black Kids - Partie Traumatic

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Sometimes an album comes along that embodies the pop moment it was made in to such a degree it's hard to convince yourself it actually exists and, more staggering still in current times, is the work smart young things unmolested by dark lords Cowell, Walsh and Fuller. Black Kids tied up a dizzying number of British pop trends: cheap synth sounds competed with sleek FM rock guitar. Disco drums clashed with rainy day angst'n'angularity. Sugary girl group harmonies were soured by the wayward croon of lead singer Reggie Youngblood, who was blessed with the 'fro and pout of Diana Ross but sung like Robert Smith. Adding to the surrealism, they hailed from Jacksonville, Florida. More aptly, they were multi-race, multi-gender, pleasingly androgynous and exploded with all the confidence and mess of youth.

Opener 'Hit the Heartbreaks' Van Halen-meets-Rick James stomp sets out Partie Traumatic's stall: it's so giddy it can barely get itself together enough to rush for the chorus, so silly and sure of itself it starts of with a Sparks-like surreal witticism about underwear and ghosts. It's like having a pillow fight at a slumber party hosted by the world's coolest kids. Elsewhere, 'Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo)' nonchalantly pulls off the kind of perfect hybrid of indie-boy coyness and 70s soul sass that Edwin Collins spent the 80s wrestling with. It also has the best disco fever bassline this side of Chic's Bernard Edwards - fact - and synthetic handclaps. So, y'know… Perfection. 'I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)' locates urbane Morrissey playfulness via a daffy Wham-worthy homage to Motown, with keyboardists Dawn Watley and Ali Youngblood filling in for Pepsi and Shirley. And break-through single 'I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You' is so loveable it can even survive what should be an open-and-shut case of Death by Pointlessly Long Song Title.

Underneath all that, does Partie Traumatic offer much in the way of substance? Well, no. But 'I'm Not Going Teach…' is cute, 'Hurricane Jane' is angst-ridden, and 'Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo)' is horny. And kids - whatever their colour - really only have those three settings.

Best tracks: 'I'm Not Going to Teach…', 'Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo)', 'I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)'

Richard Morris

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