Monday, 25 July 2011

Kid For Today
Are You Friendly?
Pipco Collective
Out Now
Rating: 4.5/5

The first time I heard of Kid For Today was when Charlie Barnes nodded in bandmate Josh (AKA Kid For Today)'s direction and told me to check his stuff out. “You'll fucking love it” he assured me with a mischievous grin. 

Now, before I lapse into some kind of semi-autobiographical prose dross let's talk about Are You Friendly?. Well, the first and most obvious thing to say is that yeah, I do fucking love it. Like a kind of hyper lo-fi Beta Band (see 'Hello Mr. Magpie), with swatches of Nice Nice and even Meursault ('Sticks') about it, KFT's music roughly inhabits that area usually branded 'folktronica', though 'Keep on Drowning' reminds more of '5/4' from Gorillaz and 'River Rocks' smacks of well, anything that Beck has ever done (sorry but Beck's stuff does all sound the same). 

The eclecticism of the execution however is this EP's true strength. Morphing from lo-fi folk to world music with jazz or funk flavours, it's at times like a 21st century take on Paul Simon's solo material (see the 'Ocean Song' passage of 'Keep on Drowning'); however many genres and instruments are tackled, it's still somehow elusively, transiently locked into a folk sensibility even as its many moods shift with it, passage by passage. 

For me, the best track is 'Green Lung'; I've always had a soft spot for distorted drums, and the track itself is a pleasing version of Peter Gabriel's multi-vocal-harmonied '80s excursions into African choral music as imagined by Engineers or North Atlantic Oscillation. Both 'Cell Count' and 'Clean Coloured Wire' have a similar electronic warble counterpointed by Secret Machines-style drums, and 'Green Lung' is consequently one 2:47 trip through a good seventy per cent of the things that I fucking love about music. 

Ultimately though, you can't boil Are You Friendly? down to a single track as that simply doesn't do it justice. If you're going to listen to acoustic guitars, fuck Benjamin Francis Leftwich's facile Radio-2-drivetime-mid-life-crisis bullshit and immerse yourself in something of more substance: this.  

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