Kids In Glass Houses

Dirt

Written by: DR on 27/03/2010 20:19:11

Touring with the heavyweight likes of New Found Glory, Paramore, Lostprophets, 30 Seconds to Mars and Fall Out Boy, to name but a few, is not something many bands can brag about. Kids In Glass Houses can. They managed to secure those breaks because of their rocket-like rise to popularity, which was no doubt helped by Ian Watkins' (in)advertant promotion when he claimed "relatively unknown bands such as Kids In Glass Houses are a lot better than a lot of known bands out there". Now Kids... are very well known, and are back from America after recording their second LP "Dirt".

The name "Dirt" is misleading because there is nothing remotely dirty about "Dirt". Horrendously tinny drums aside, the production is squeaky clean - as God intended mid-tempo, pop rock songs to be. The mildly aggressive days of "Fisticuffs" are nearly completely gone. In their place you'll find "whoa" after "whoa", whiny lyric after whiny lyric, and shoddy "big" songs that are bent over and waiting to be fucked by teenage girls and the mainstream alike.

Frontman Aled Phillips has also developed a few bad habits. What makes him think it's ok to sing "Stop wishing for the sunshine (WHOA) / Stop living in the rain (WHOA) / Stop telling me you'll be fine (WHOA) / Stop living with the pain."? Even that Never Shout Never fellow would be embarrassed by that. It's not just his questionable lyrics, or the decision to add a few whoas/heys/ohs to songs (like it hasn't already been done a billion times before), but Aled is now a crooner in places and he's taken to attempting a few vocal "strains" - both of those could be considered forgivable. What's not, however, is how he sometimes mis-sings words. In "The Morning Afterlife" he sings (what I assume to be) "night" as "naaaight", in "Sunshine" (which is generally an embarrassment of a Lostprophets-esque attempt at "big" stadium rock) he sings "talk to me" as Chaaalk chu me" and "goes" as "gouwes". Why does he do this?

If you weren't already convinced Kids... are now catering for a more "mainstream" market, listen to "Undercover Lover" because it features the stunningly average vocals of Frankie Sandford (Kids... you dirty dogs) from the girl group The Saturdays - she's hardly renowned as one of the great vocal talents in today's pop world, as evidenced by the fact she's not even the main singer in her own band, so what are Kids... doing by giving her such a large part in one of their songs? The unfortunate thing is, if the female vocals were better, the dichotomy of the female/male vocals could have made the song really work. "Artbreaker II" is a not-so-subtle attempt to get crowd-involvement at shows, done by slapping in a "whoa"-laden bridge. If you need another example of the band's apparent desire to become completely mainstream, look no further than their "Sex on Fire" rip-off that is "Youngblood (Let It Out)".

"Artbreaker I" is a sign that maybe, possibly, somewhere underneath all the gunk is the band that were influenced by acts such as Glassjaw and Refused, "Hunt The Haunted" is a hit waiting to happen and "Matters At All" has an utterly irresistible chorus. Sadly, none of these songs are enough to salvage "Dirt".

So, I guess it's time to ask and answer the question: Will Kids... continue to be a small supporting fish in a big band pond, or will "Dirt" promote them to headliner status?. In a perfect world, it would be the best bands around, the ones that offer something new to music, who'd get the most recognition. The music world is far from perfect, because it's not only probable that a completely average band, given the right promotion, will become "big", it's fairly common. This album is choc-full of pop rock songs that will garner the band plenty of radio time, which will ultimately lead to Kids In Glass Houses becoming a headliner act, and pretty quickly at that, leaving us ney-sayers scratching our heads whilst lamenting the moronic mainstream.

6

Download: Artbreaker I; Hunt The Haunted; Matters At All
For The Fans of: You Me At Six; Tonight Is Goodbye; Go:Audio
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 29.03.2010
Roadrunner Records

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