Blacktop Kids - Right in the Street (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Blacktop Kids

Right in the Street (2011)


You don't really need to be told that Blacktop Kids hail from New Jersey as they announce as much via their music. They come from the home of bands such as Lifetime, Static Radio NJ and the Bouncing Souls, and the Blacktop Kids do their utmost to include elements of all these bands in what they do, and to be honest they do a damned fine job on this nine-track album which I believe, if you're quick, is available for free from their Bandcamp page for a limited period of time.

So if you have no idea what the three bands name checked above sound like, what you get here is melodic hardcore with slightly strained/gruff vocals that hammers along through the first eight tracks before ending with the almost obligatory acoustic track. Whereas I find some of these acoustic sojourns tiresome and a waste of time, this is one that bucks the trend and I really enjoy this one as "Tonight We Ride" doesn't come across as a throwaway track. It has a heart of its own and brings the album to quite a stirring conclusion.

Although this album is not an innovative piece of work, it has much going for it. Right in the Street is well varied in pace and delivery, has some great singalong parts and the guitars complement each other extremely well, with some heavy rhythm guitar backed up by some intricate lead work that is much more apparent when listening with headphones on. Oh yes, the drumming is pretty damn fine too.

With only nine tracks here the other plus side for Right in the Street is that it doesn't overstay its welcome. It seems to be the perfect length both in terms of the time and number of tracks, which helps make the decision of whether or not to start at the beginning again an easy one. Despite the consistency across this album I would recommend two tracks, "Combat Hearts" and "Lost Paradise," as representing the band at its best.

If you like any of the bands mentioned in the first paragraph then you should be able to find something here that tickles your fancy given the similarities throughout to those bands, plus Kid Dynamite and the Blacklist Royals. In fact, taking it a bit further I hear elements of Heckle and Brand New Unit there too.

Although I've already submitted a list of my favorite 20 albums of the year to Punknews, I'd like to note here that this deserves to be added as the 21st, if not higher, best album released in 2011.