"The Kicks"

(XS Records 2003)Kicks - The Kicks

While it is probably a safe bet that a rather high percentage of reviews or press write ups of The Kicks have made reference to their "The" name, this review will steer clear. The Kicks do not come off as raw and aggressive, occasionally pissed off 20-somethings as those bands that fit the "The" profile usually do. Instead, The Kicks' self-titled album is more poppy rock -- think Weezer's sing-song, melody ridden vocals meets the somewhat edgier instrumentation of the Foo Fighters.

The band might be too catchy for its own good as the infectious "Mir" reminds of Semisonic's "Chemistry" and opens the album on a high note and sets up for the mellow shuffle of the Weezer sounding "I'll Do Anything." With the nostalgic and familiar sounding "Bomb" and the crisper sounding rock of "Pop Star Radio Crown," The Kicks show you two different sounds. "I thought that it was alright/when you told me last night/so I said that you could come along/when it comes down/and then it goes around/the pop star radio crown is gone/the pop star radio sound is gone," guitarist and singer Scott Cook tells you on "Pop Star Radio Crown."

With the familiar sounding "Radar," the band again mix it up but working vocal dynamics down to a quiet hum and back up to a roaring, "You got what you wanted." Keeping in line with their space trend ("Mir," "Radar") on "Satellite," the band offer a highly harmonized mid tempo tune. "And I know not to take these everyday/Well I'm sure, it could take my pain away/Yeah they say you can do this on your own/"˜Take a pill' all I heard when I was young," Cook sings on the softer "Pill." The juvenile sounding "Banana Seat" is a catchy little tune but a rather substance less song that uses heavy repetition of uncomplicated lines such as "you know I never had one; that was a drag." With a more indie punk side, "Jet" is a bit more riff driven with a cha-cha rhythm on the chorus. The album's final track sound very unique from the rest of the album; a sort of The Smiths meets Weezer, Cook croons in a previously unheard fashion during the slower verses before switching over to a slightly heavier sound with screaming vocals. It provides for an interesting ending at the very least.

A mix of influences, The Kicks frequently sound like a specific band or song but it is sometimes tough to place it. While the lyrics and music are what you would expect from any pop sounding rock band, The Kicks' album is an entertaining listen with some rather catchy songs.