Kids and Animals, a local Seattle indie rock band, just made an eight-song debut, the release of which they're celebrating at the Vera Project this Friday. The band has subsequently uploaded all eight of the songs from the band's debut to their MySpace page.
Kids and Animals, live
While there's no denying that Kids and Animals ooze with potential -- there's an intriguing proggy aspect to their songs that I dig -- their lyrics are packed with literal descriptions and hyperemotional mooning, which implies they were either written by a teenager or someone who's just emerged from the haze of adolescence. Like half the bands I listened to when I was 16, they've got this sort of earnest pop punk songwriter thing going on that I'm having trouble identifying with at 24.
But if Kids and Animals guitarist Adam Gaciarz' Facebook page doesn't lie, then he's a senior at West Seattle High School, which makes it totally okay for them to write songs like teenagers: because unless he's the youngest guy in the band by several years, they are teenagers. Teenagers who are miles ahead of their peers (I'm e-mailing Gaciarz right now to find out exactly how old these boys are, and will update accordingly.)When it comes to the instrumentals, Kids and Animals bear little resemblance to pop punk. The melodies are catchy without being too repetitive, and the song structures are far from basic, which is good. Only problem is, there are instances when the band is obviously trying to tackle music advanced enough to seem as if it's a little bit of a reach for the band to play comfortably.
The guitar parts are technically ambitious, but maybe a little too ambitious: while there seems to be some deliberately messy cacophony coming from the guitar, some of the jarring moments in the music and in the rhythms sound like mistakes, not artistic choices. Half a beat makes a difference; so does half a step.
Some of that cacophony seems deliberate, but it's pretty obvious that the album's messiness isn't all calculated. That said, it's pretty much always better to try something hard and occasionally fudge it (and unless you are an anal-retentive, classically-trained musician you might not even notice these infrequent, minor technical missteps) than writing overly simple songs to make sure you play those songs perfectly every time. And those occasional imperfections are endearing as the stuffed animals who tend to share the stage with the band. Stream the album and let me know what you think.