Pity the Black Kids. The Jacksonville, Florida, band rocketed to the top of the internet shit pile last fall, fueled by favorable blog posts from NME, Vice, the Village Voice, and perhaps most importantly an effusive 8.3 "Best New Music" review from Pitchfork of their four-song demo EP, Wizards of Ahhhs. Of course, such a rapid ascent, to mix metaphors a bit, can lead to a bad case of the bends. And last week, Pitchfork posted a back-pedaling 3.3 review of the band's major-label full-length debut, Partie Traumatic—the review was nothing more than a picture of two sad-looking pugs (one beige, one black) with LOL Cats–style text reading simply, "Sorry :-/"
It's old news that the pace of pop culture is always accelerating, but it still must suck to go from next big thing (on the strength of what was basically a single) to backlash all before even getting one album out.
What's really baffling, though, is that initial hype. The EP coasted by on the situationally cheeky jangle and mope of "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You" and the boy/girl call-and-response of "Hit the Heartbrakes" (both of which appear on this album in polished forms). The other songs, in clearer light, sound merely like decent B-sides.
Black Kids are, in some corners, being posited as a sort of next Vampire Weekend. But Vampire Weekend had a whole album of great songs to feed their frenzied reception. Partie Traumatic, for its occasional charms—slick guitars and synths, lead singer Reggie Youngblood's wounded croon, some pleasant though forgettable choruses—is not an album of great songs.
And while their so-so songs are wrapped in pretty enough production, it's rightfully panned as not terribly original. Generously, Black Kids rip off the Cure; more accurately, they rip off Hot Hot Heat and add more egregious fake British accents. (Note: This review isn't backlash; The Stranger never drooled over these kids in the first place.)