“Screamo” as it has been known is a genre that if not dead, is surely on life support. Gone are the days of Portrait and City of Caterpillar -- few bands remain now playing that style of emotive hardcore. The bands that are still playing the style, however, are waving the flag with style and substance to spare.
Kidcrash perfectly exemplify the style and power that the genre’s best were known for; the four-piece has a flare for the epic, and even in the more understated moments on Jokes there seems to be something brewing, a palpable energy being built up just waiting to be explosively released.
The album has a complex dichotomy -- the subtle and gorgeous instrumentation of “Kissed By A Roach From The Grave” calls The Album Leaf to mind, while the raging chord progressions that start off “Parrots Just Don’t Understand” do the same for Hot Cross. You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get in a given song, and that’s a strength that can not be understated.
That instrumentation anchors every song on the album, and it doesn’t take long for that to become apparent. “Turtlelephant” kicks the album off with an almost whimsical rhythm that picks up speed and distortion as it goes on before exploding when the vocals chaotically enter the fray. The frenzied vocals
fit the muddled distortion perfectly, a fact put on display even more prominently in the next song, “The Ground Eats You.” Kidcrash waste no time getting started here, as the rattling snare and chord progressions that stop just short of crescendo lead into a veritable outpouring of power and emotion that’s impossible to not be taken aback by.
As good as Kidcrash had been prior, it’s the eight-minute “Ron Ghousley’s Fucked Up Dream” where the band really shows all that they’re capable of.
It’s easy to lose listeners in eight minutes. Attention spans can be short and interest can be lost, but “Ghousley..” is truly a journey, a journey through every ability that Kidcrash has as a band. The track goes back and forth between quickly-moving clean chord progressions and fits of distortion. The vocals weave in and out, creating an off-kilter pattern of calm and rage in a way that few bands are able to match.
To paraphrase another band:
“Maybe screamo isn’t dead, maybe we all just forgot what it fucking sounded like.”