Kid Nichols is a fourpiece from Howell, N.J. that happens to be named after Charles Augustus Nichols a.k.a. Kid Nichols, who was (and thank you Wikipedia for helping this clueless Brit out) a Major League Baseball pitcher in the first half of the 20th century. Apparently he was pretty good!
Kid Nichols, the band, is also pretty good too. With a guitar-driven attack that brings to mind the likes of Avail (second track “Clear Eyes (Full Hearts)” has an opening guitar riff that reminds me bands like Doc Hopper, Sinkhole and G-Whiz) at times, it’s hard not to enjoy Voice of the Voiceless as the eight non-acoustic tracks are delivered at a fair to middling tempo, with enough gusto to keep my head nodding, limbs tapping along in time whilst I manfully try not to look like an idiot on the bus.
It’s that tempo and gusto that make some of these tunes stand out, most noticeably the opener “Just Like Legos,” with Bob Guerci providing main vocal duties (slightly gruff) and Kyle Zupancic covering the chorus duties and adding to the Avail similarities. This dual vocal approach continues throughout the album with Guerci having the majority of the lead work but in Zupancic he has definitely found his match: both men have equally strong voices, both of which could easily front this band.
Tracks like “Just Like Legos”, “Clear Eyes (Full Hearts)” and “Shove or Be Shoved” are the highlights here with each containing the right amount of melody and energy to create some quality catchy songs that keep creeping up on me throughout the day with the tunes racing around my head.
Unusually there are two acoustic tracks to be found on this album and they occupy the slots that are fast becoming the traditional positions for such songs on a punk album: mid-way (in this case “Punk Rock, Paper and Sinners” is in at five) and at the end with “Saints Alive!”. Normally I find one acoustic track more than enough but it doesn’t take much to come round to this pair as they do seem to have something more behind them rather than being the obligatory counterpoint to raging guitars and crashing drums that bands tag onto long-playing releases.
On its online presence, the band says that if you like stuff like Lifetime and Bouncing Souls then you should like Kid Nichols and I’d say there is a strong chance of that being the case. It wouldn’t be a big stretch to say that if you like a lot of the music that is linked with Gainesville/The Fest then this might push some buttons for you too. This is melodic punk rock which has enough variation in it to stop it becoming the sort of record you play a handful of times and then forget about. The only criticism, and it’s a minor one, is that there is something in the mix/production that occasionally causes a low end kind of rumble through some tracks. However, the overall result is generally a healthy combination of distinctive vocals, clean guitars, bouncing bass and snappy drums that make this worth checking out.