Le Kid. An act so good that they were almost in danger of becoming victims of their own brilliance.
Fans were first introduced to them over three years ago – on May 27th 2008, when they set up their myspace page. Blog love followed almost straight away, most vocally and prolifically on popjustice.com. And as more new songs were introduced, and extra glimpses into the band’s world given via their endearingly eccentric updates on social media, their following became more and more cult like. Those fans are always the most vocal and demanding however, and three years is a long time to wait for a debut album. So this year as more single’s came, and it became apparent that the album was finished and ready, so too came something of an unrest within Le Kid’s Le Family, each new time the album’s release date was pushed back. The repetitive cries of “why can’t I hear the album”, “why has it been put back again”, “why aren’t Le Kid more successful”, “what are the record label doing to them“, almost, just almost, actually succeeded in overshadowing what’s great about the band in the first place – their music. But thankfully, they’ve knocked it on the head just in time. The album, ‘Oh Alright’ is released in 2 weeks time, and this week a single came out, ‘We Are The Drums’. A single which in our opinion, is their best yet. So finally Le Kid are back to being a jolly good pop band who make effing great music. And they’ve silenced/appeased their harshest critics – their fans. Phew!
The album then. Let’s start with the less familiar songs, as those are the ones that everyone wants to know about.
‘Escape’ is probably the most sonically interesting song on here. It’s the softest, yet it’s still up-tempo. And it’s very Le Kid, yet we get the impression that this is what Kylie Minogue would sound like if she ever had the foresight to get Felix and Märta in to work with her on a track. Its final contradiction is the fact that it sounds very now and very 2011, yet also plays as though it could be a remastered version of a hit of one of those mid 90’s, female fronted indie groups – Dubstar, St Etienne, or Sleeper. Oh, and it’s amazing too, by the way.
’Bigger Than Jesus’ is like ’America’s older, more pensive sister. Not just because of its more worldly and grown up lyrical theme, but also because it shows off that elder sibling edge of being able to go back a decade further when drawing influence from the music it’s been listening to all its life. Yet ‘America’ and ‘Bigger Than Jesus’ are very much two Le Kids of the same parents. Together in electric dreams, etc etc.
‘Kiss Me’ takes what Lily Allen was doing with pre-sixties perky pop on ‘Alfie’ and ‘Fuck You’, and runs with it even further. Where Lily juxtaposed the sweet with the sparse and the harsh, Le Kid seize upon that sweetness and inject a wholesome, cheek colouring level of warmth into it. It’s the most bubblegum that Le Kid go on ‘Oh Alright’, but it’s not at all bad for your teeth, don’t fret.
‘Seventeen’ is a song which changes its mind and its tempo so much throughout its play, that the verse, the first half of the chorus, and the second half of the chorus sound like they’re from three different songs. But that’s not jarring in the slightest. Instead, it makes for an enjoyably interesting listen. And its pleasant unpredictability is enhanced, or perhaps explained by lyrics which boast of a person’s ability to be as immature as a 17 year old. In the school playground of sound, ‘Seventeen’ finds itself in that awkward phase of being between two cliques. Right now it’s hanging out with ‘Oh My God’ and ‘Kiss Me’, but sees ‘Mercy Mercy’ and ‘We Should Go Home Together’ as more its kind of playmates. Soon, ‘Seventeen. Soon.
Are people classing ‘Telephone’ as a new track? It’s never been a single, but it has actually been around since the dawn of Le Kid online, when that old myspace page opened. It was actually our favourite Le Kid track for a very long time, up until this year. But it’s been fantastic to finally hear it in the HQ it was made for. And then there’s ‘We Are The Drums’ which is our new favourite Le Kid track. Released this week, we gave our thoughts on it here a few days back. In a nutshell – 2nd album era Girls Aloud having a lipstick lesbian liaison with 2nd album era Rachel Stevens. Incredible!
‘Mercy Mercy’ is the song which started it all, so much so that it’s almost like a track from a previous era. But it’s not only managed to stand the test of time and still sound wonderful today, it’s also managed to outgrow those early comparisons (or rather, complete accusations of plagiarism!) to Girls Aloud’s ‘Can’t Speak French’. ‘America’ was their most recent single until this week, and it’s the one that we actually think has had the best reception from fans. From what we can scope online anyway, it’s ‘America’ that has thus far been regarded as their finest moment. We’ll be interested to read opinions on the album tracks to see if that changes.
‘We Should Go Home Together’ is the song credited to reawakening interest in the band late last year, when their fans had grown out of the honeymoon period and into the settling down period, still clutching the prized myspace tracks. It’s this song, rightly so, that reminded everyone that Le Kid still had some serious business to do, and that it was going to be something genuinely spectacular, if you were prepared to wait just a little while longer. And then there’s their cover of The Killers’ ‘Mr Brightside’. Initially a live gift to fans that was so well received, it was released as a free download. A free download that was in turn so well received that it’s now a bonus track on the album! When Helena and Johanna sing “destiny is calling me”, it’s almost a subtle tease that they really could take on anyone else’s song, and make you fall in love with it THEIR way.
Finally we’ve got ‘Oh My God’. The song which really introduced Le Kid’s homeland of Sweden to them back in March this year, when the band competed with it in Melodifestivalen. A nation unaware that a lot of the rest of the world’s pop music fans were already head over heels in love with them. Some Swedes have told us since then, that their fellow country folk probably won’t fall so quickly in love with Le Kid until it’s more apparent that the rest of the world already have – not a criticism of Le Kid, more a commentary on the Swedish way of thinking when it comes to their homegrown pop acts. Whether this is true or not, we’ll find out soon enough. However, we think that ‘Oh My God’ did its job well. An accurate introduction to Sweden at large of who Le Kid are, both visually and sonically.
And that’s it!
The album’s coming out in early September. Easily, without any effort whatsoever, it’s already one of the best albums of the year. But also – and yes of course it’s too early on to say, but you know we like to be OTT and overblown, so we’re just going to say it and that’s that – one of the……perhaps……pop albums of our generation?! Even if it is too early to gush such a statement, we’re still going to have plenty of time to decide for sure. Because this is one album that we’re going to be playing over and over and over again. And again.