Album Review: The Kickdrums – Just A Game
by Winston "Stone" Ford
Just a Game
I’m a huge fan of rock and indie music. And truth be told, I would feature more on the site if it was actually any good. Rock, like hip-hop has fallen off majorly from it’s peak in the 90s, and the new garage indie sound championed by the Pitchfork crowd does nothing for me.
However the Ohio duo The Kickdrums has changed that. They have been getting massive love from hip-hop sites for their SMASH The System mixtape, which contained remixes of Kid Cudi and Kanye West. But instead of dropping yet another mixtape into the already polluted Internet musical airstream, the drop a masterpiece which stands on its own. Their EP, Just A Game, dropped earlier this month, and combines their beatmaking abilities with low-key (almost Radiohead-like) vocals. The result is some superb indie rock over some amazing 4/4 kicks (hence their name) and one of the best albums of any genre to drop this year.
The first track I heard from the duo was the ultra poppy “Things Work Out,” whose throwback style (complete wtih tamborne) flirts with the 60s sound that has permeated the scene, but doesn’t harp on it fully. The duo is also great at creating moods: The raspy guitar combined with the subtle orchestration works great on the paranoid track “Out to Get Me,” while the uneven horns create a feeling of intoxication that works great on “Personal Calamity.”
The best track on the album by far is the title track “Just a Game,” which massive trip-hop influence and bold horns create a lush sound that hasn’t been seen yet on any album in 2009.
The verdict: This might be the sleeper album of the year. The Kickdrums should have charged for this. They would’ve made a killing.