Black Kids first and last full album came out in 2008 and while I was a big fan of them back at the beginning of high school I realized I hadn’t listened to their first album Partie Traumatic in full in at least seven years. As I sat down to re-familiarize myself with Partie Traumatic I got sucked back into the goofy upbeat dance world that Black Kids makes you a part of.
Black Kids are an indie pop group out of Jacksonville, FL who first received attention at the Athens Pop Fest in 2007. From that performance they released an EP, a full album and toured around the world opening for big names like Cut Copy and Kate Nash. Black Kids went fairly silent after the hype of 2007-2009 and did some minor touring and teased a few new songs. Rookie is their first big release in eight years.
Upon first listen, Rookie stays with Black Kids’ usual sound, loud, poppy and perfect to dance to. Yet, this album takes a turn in the middle first taking a much more mellow approach to indie pop and finally ending on tracks that take them down different experimental paths.
The first track, “Iffy” is fun bouncy track convincing a girl that he’s too “iffy” to be in love with. It flows well into “In a Song” which has a slight Smithsy feel but continues on the theme of professing love.
Track three, “If My Heart is Broken” takes the album on its first turn into more mellow indie pop, while the synth is still present, the lyrics definitely take the song out of the dance club. “V-Card” is a fun guitar centric song that plays with Black Kids trademark goofy lyrics. “Rookie”, the title track, really starts to tie the album together with this idea that the narrator of the album is just getting into the world of love and romance and is trying to navigate everything from falling in love to losing your virginity. The track features the line “I’m not a rookie anymore, no.” “Illin’” is the last track of this distinct midsection of more mellow indie songs.
“Natural Born Kissers” wakes up the listener by catapulting them into 80’s pop land; while this song wasn’t particularly effective for me, it’s well placed in the track list. “All the Emotions” brings in Caribbean elements and keeps the upbeat synth sound through the track.
“Obligatory Drugs” is a simple song that strongly channels fellow indie pop artist of Montreal. It also sounds fairly similar to 3OH!3’s “House Party”, albeit much lower on the douchebag scale. Finally, the album closes with “Way Into Leather” a slower guitar heavy song that ends with the phrases “I just want your love” and “I don’t want to be a virgin”. Black Kids sophomore album mimics sophomore year of high school, experimenting with love, sex and rock and roll.