Who Are These Weird Old Kids
Sidedown Audio, 2011
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/25/2011
“Me And The Kid,” the lead off cut on Who Are These Weird Old Kids, the debut effort by the Chicago-based duo The Hit Back, is a fabulous example of how minimalism can actually blossom into a delightful pop song. If this track’s clever arrangement says something about the cheekiness of this band, the rest of the record by and large indicates something else.
The group’s synth-folk style of indie-pop has a deliberate minimalistic quality, which is both mysterious and fresh; but only for a while and across a few songs on the album. The band stays giddy and mushy for most of …Weird Old Kids, which turns out not quite as unique as its opening track makes it out to be. The rest of Weird Old Kids is an uninteresting and uneventful record that gets dull way before the last song, which is only 27 minutes away from its first track.
However, in addition to “Me And The Kid,” en route Weird Old Kids does present a few more examples of this band’s intelligence in making indie pop music that are not so vanilla. Following immediately after “Me And The Kid” is “Too Fat To Crawl,” which is as minimal, but takes a completely different approach with a recurring bluesy acoustic guitar loop, to yield a much more solemn pop number, but equally sharp. Similarly, on another gem, “Tagalong,” the ingenious combination of acoustic guitars and sparse percussion has the vitality and homespun genuineness of ad-hoc street music. On “Afternoon,” The Hit Back not only gives in to the surrealism of its minimalistic sound, but embraces it to yield a song that is as beautiful as it is esoteric.
For the rest of the album, bleary-eyed romanticism takes precedence over any well-intentioned tinkering with minimalism, and results in the unnoteworthy and the humdrum. The electronically textured “Everything Leaks” is as sentimentally sycophantic as the piano-ballad “And You’re The Night” and the song for the radio “That Wave:” The balladry of Weird Old Kids is boring and there is too much of it.