by Lee DeVito
"Free Money," the first tune off Kinetic Stereokids' sophomore album features a giant guitar riff ready for something like a Nike commercial, which offers a clue to the Flint-based band's intentions. KS has their sights set on corporate radio domination, pulling inspiration from about everything that's "alterna-rock" now.
The rest of the album's a whirlwind of sporadic elements and influences, flipping between rock and hip hop and moving between scratching turntables, crunchy guitars, rapping, just plain good old noise, Thom Yorke-esque vocals, operatic samples — hell, there's even some banjo thrown into the mix. The hodgepodge might recall Beck's or Gorillaz' sonic eclecticism — it's so overwhelming, in fact, that it's hard to believe Kid Moves came from a mixing board at Ghetto Recorders, a studio known more for lo-fi rock 'n' roll than for rap-rock.
Not that Kid Moves feels particularly comfortable as rap-rock ... the songs simply have rap and rock elements in them the same way others here reference folk, electronica or even jazz.
But for as much sheer volume as Kid Moves provides (and thanks to the assorted references, there's probably something here for everyone), the album suffers from overload and risks losing the average pop listener's attention span. The 'kids have a tendency to sacrifice pop hooks for indulgent, jammy meandering and a lot of cryptic, incoherent samples — perhaps more appropriate for a background soundtrack than for the forefront of a TV spot. Nevertheless, despite its disjointed parts, Kid Moves ultimately makes an intriguing unified whole.
May 30, at the Loft, 515 Buckingham Alley, Flint; 810-239-4477; and (speaking of world domination) on Thursday, July 16, at the House of Blues Foundation Room in West Hollywood, Calif.
Lee DeVito reviews music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.