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Black Comedy by Kid iD

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Reviewed on 25th June 2009.


Black Comedy

By Kid iD

'Black Comedy,' the debut EP from Leeds' Kid iD, is four folk-orientated tracks, where each song sets out to show a different facet of Kid iD's chosen genre. 'Love Is' is languid, jazz club cool, while 'Comic Crutch' takes a more ramshackle and quirky approach to folk. The only two songs that could be accused of sounding similar, are the acoustic ballads 'Black Comedy' and 'Colours of Love.'

The strongest of the two acoustic-led tracks, 'Black Comedy' is sublimely easy on the ear. The vocals are partially hidden behind a shimmer of distortion, and the brisk acoustic guitar is placed slightly lower in the mix, smoothing out any clunking edges. Even the percussion is relegated to a soft, background bump, although the drums do growl louder on the more upbeat choruses.

While this should be a recipe for boredom, 'Black Comedy' isn't short on character. Frontman Ralph Pelleymounter always puts an unusual spin on his vocals, whether he's pattering out some brisk lyrics or breaking out into an oddly-inflected holler, his vocals will keep you on your toes, and consequently 'Black Comedy' won't pass by in a blur.

'Black Comedy' makes one last bid to make an impression on the listener, with an end-section of military drum-rolls and some very mature and melodrama-shunning strings. 'Black Comedy' is one meandering, folky track that carries just enough clout to lift it from the realms of 'nice, but forgettable' and make it memorable.

Sadly, the same can't be said for plodding acoustic number 'Colours of Love,' which is easily the EP's weakest offering. While the guitars are pretty enough, that's nothing out of the ordinary in the context of this EP. But, it's the vocals where things really go wrong, as Pelleymounter tries to sound dreamy and vague, but actually ends up sounding bored. Each line drags its feet, and chances are your attention will have wandered before Pelleymounter gets to the end of the first sentence.

Thankfully, Kid iD get back on track with the rough-and-ready country of 'Comic Crutch.' Following a quirky introduction of multi-layered, harmonised vocals that hark back to the days of barbershop quartets, 'Comic Crutch' lurches into a verse of bone-shaking guitars. Just when you're in danger of getting accustomed to those clunking rhythms, Kid iD bring out that old country favourite, the cowbell, and bash out some purposefully duff-sounding chords on the guitar. If you're a fan of live-sounding, back-to-basics acoustic ditties, then 'Comic Crutch' is for you.

However, if you're not a fan of being jarred and bumped by a song, then the chorus of 'Comic Crutch' administers a shot of easy melody. The "whoooo, whoooo" backing vocals are both pop-music catchy, and chillingly atmospheric, while the drums are a rumbling build-up that'll have you anticipating some dramatic peak. When the chorus does reach its zenith, it turns out to be a handful of twangy chords and a quick rattle of the cowbell, before it's back to those jerking verses. It's unexpected enough to not feel like an anticlimax. 'Comic Crutch' is simple and shambolic folk with an easy, melodic chorus, and a few surprises along the way.

The cheerful trumpet at the beginning of 'Love Is' is in stark contrast to everything else on this EP. And the rest of 'Love Is' is equally individual, as it slips into a slick, jazzy groove where Pelleymounter's winding vocals lead the way. Although some clattering acoustic guitars and short, sharp drum-rolls help pad out the verses, the main focus is on Pelleymounter's vocals and the trumpet flourishes.

Kid iD wisely kick 'Love Is' into second gear for the jangling, Mediterranean-influenced choruses, which sound even more fun after the poised cool of the verses. But, ultimately 'Love Is' leaves you with a smile on your face, as the drums and the trumpet turn out an end-section of oooom-pa, oooom-pa, carnival beats.

'Black Comedy' isn't an EP that screams for your attention. Even the two strongest songs - 'Black Comedy' and 'Love Is' - take multiple listens before they win you over. But, what's really impressive about Kid iD, is the variety they manage to pack into four songs, and that's what'll get you excited about their forthcoming full-length.



All replies to this article. Log in to post a reply.

On 4th February 2010 at 11:06 Anonymous 7594 wrote...

Your review of this brilliant yet understated EP can only be best described as terrible. I think you should learn how to construct a more thought provoking and descriptive sentence before even trying to attempt reviewing music of this scale. You do the band (and in your other reviews) no fair justice; taking too much of a literal stance on what you hear rather than what you can feel, experience and interpret from music.

Please learn to get past your own insecurities and gimmicks as a writer and actually do a decent / fair review. Stop thinking about what other writers might think. You tell us nothing of any real depth and I sincerely question your knowledge on the subject of music past what's in the charts.


On 4th February 2010 at 13:55 Anonymous 6854 wrote...

? have we read the same review ? Isn't 'brilliant and understated' pretty much what Jessica says? and it couldn't be less 'insecure and gimmicky'. Jessica's obviously listened to it a few times and then told us what she thinks, the crazy kid.
if you want insecure and gimmicky you should try my reviews.


On 4th February 2010 at 15:55 Dave LMS wrote...

A writer's style is always going to represent them personally and as with normal day-to-day interactions your approach to life, your style, your attitudes, etc, will appeal to some people and put other people off. The saying "you can't please them all" springs to mind. For example: I really enjoy reading Jessica's reviews. On the other hand there may be other reviewers that "Gay Bum" likes to read and seeks out as a valued reference that I cannot stand. That's life. In some way this is a defence of both Jessica and "Gay Bum", in that I don't think Jessica should change (because I know that there are a lot of folk that like her writing on this site) but equally that "Gay Bum" has every right to stand up for what (s)he feels is poor writing based on his/her own past references and experiences and what (s)he personally believes is "better".


On 4th February 2010 at 17:49 Anonymous 7595 wrote...

I find Jessica's reviews thought provoking and descriptive and always throughly enjoyable



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