The Kidcrash - Jokes (Cover Artwork)

The Kidcrash

Jokes (2007)


Lately for me, emo has been keeping me busy with some of the most passionate and overall rewarding music I've set my ears to listening. And a lot of that can be credited to a little album called Jokes, by a little band called the Kidcrash. A few years back they released New Ruins, a pleasurable little record that flirted with both Midwest indie-emo, highly technical math rock, and pop-punk. But what was lacking on New Ruins was an overall push, a key feeling of emotion and intensity that can really make the band. This push was goaded into the band with their second release, Jokes.

The first thing to say about Jokes is the overall transformation the band went to create this record. Gone are the charming, almost scenebandesquethatwouldblowawayMotionCitySoundtrack vocals, and are replaced with dense, incredibly passionate screams. Gone is the deadpan, boring rhythm section, and in its place is a frantic explosion of pure technicality and a steady beat that's not hard to follow. On this level, and on this view of the record, they're a totally different band.

But, to an extent, they're not all that different. What can be regarded as kept is the band's technicality. If anything, the technicality is at an entirely new level. The guitarists are jumping off the wall with impressive dynamics that have the energy of a sugar-high nine-year-old. In songs like "Life Was Real, Vital, Urgent, Important/Bum Guts," the band can barely keep up with themselves in terms of dynamics. What separates them from most bands is the amount of emotion they put into their playing. I don't think I've seen so much introspection in a band with so much technicality. The dynamics between clean tones and all-out chordal aggression seems so limitless, and it gives them much space to expand and delve further into their chill parts (which are one of the leftovers from New Ruins. And while the parts on this record are much more heartfelt and emotional, there is no denying the ultimate truth of what's leftover from their Midwest indie days). Rarely does the band carry out a riff too long, and if they do, they change it around by putting it in different keys and tones.

What's probably the album's meditation is the "epic" "Ron Ghousley's Fucked Up Dream," a heavy dynamic of a song that keeps changing and progressing from heavy to light to technical for over eight beautiful minutes; the band jump from fast-paced technicality, to intense riffing and screaming, to beautiful breakdowns filled with "twinkly" guitars, all while keeping a passionate cathartic approach that many bands lack. Every piece of instrumentation is right on target, with the band hitting note after note beautifully, and keeping everything lush and on track. The screams are subtle, but overall very effective. They're back in the mix, but the singer seems to be screaming to fight back the slightly sub-par production. As a whole, it's an excellent manifestation of the album.

Freshness is something lacking in today's scene, as bands seem to be overusing boring clichÿs in an attempt to create something of the old days. But alongside bands like Circle Takes the Square, Off Minor and Gospel, the Kidcrash create some of the most refreshing music any scene has ever heard.