Scary Kids Scaring Kids - After Dark (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Scary Kids Scaring Kids

After Dark (2003)

Hour Zero/Immortal're right, the singy-screamy thing is probably now the most cliched style of music being tried right now. However, you did click on this review, so the question on the tip of your tongue is - are these guys just going through the motions like some of the others?

For the most part, I'd have to say no. I mean, they got past the cliched band-name step pretty quickly, and from there they're trying their very best to do more than mistake some planes for stars that were already picked up on. The Arizona natives use a creepy array of keyboard settings, piercing screams, and soothing string-picking to place a dark, emotive feel on the songs. There is hardly a gag reflex for Drive-Thru regurgitation to be found on the disc; in other words, there aren't a lot of poppy parts you could blatantly pick out, but it runs without being nearly as chaotic as Finch or Glassjaw, finding a middle ground akin to a band like Recover, acting as a very mellow component for the genre.

The chilling synth leads us into the opener of the 26-minute EP, "What's Up Now," before a blatant scream of the track's name and the guitars bust through. As the verse starts, the fairly solid vocals kick in, sung on a moderate tempo.

"It's happening again" precedes abrupt decrescending riffs that appear throughout the second song, "Bulletproof," and also displays the screams that sound as sharp and piercing as the tip of a fresh piece of broken glass while still emanating from the background, and has the best bridge of any tune, where they use swirling guitars and the haunting keyboards against the distorted NASA-like control center commands to help set the mood.

The verses of "Locked In," besides some The verses of "Locked In," besides some wavering moog noises, elicits a Spitalfield environment with its soft guitars and clear singing, before the personal philosophy lyrics like "we all seem to be on top of our own little world / but that won't last long, for most of us" showcase themselves.

Highlighting the next song, "Sink and Die," are the mellow background "ahhh"s while the breakdown's preface begs the question "what we are good for now?" on the verge of sobs, all the while avoiding direct cries a la I Hate Myself. "Changing Priorities" is decent but seems like three minutes of filler until the keyboard is plugged on its grand piano setting for the intro and outro of "My Knife, Your Throat" (there's that cliche we were looking for!).

If you didn't like a single thing coming out of this genre, this probably won't change your mind. But if you've been listening to too much of it lately and want something a little different, maybe a little more downtempo, this would be your thing.

What's Up Now
Locked In
Sink and Die
Changing Priorities
My Knife, Your Throat