Sound — 8
Glasgow's rock trio, the 1990s are bound to put this kilt-wearing-bagpipe-crooning burgh on rock n' roll's global landscape, similarly to the way U2 gave Dublin some worldwide recognition. The 1990s latest release, Kicks from the UK label, Rough Trade, is the follow up to the trio's 2007 debut release, Cookies. Kicks is one of the first albums out of the gate this year to have the kind of global appeal that is acquainted with albums like Hot Fuss from The Killers and Start Me Up from The Rolling Stones. Not that the 1990s sound anything like The Killers or The Rolling Stones, well actually a little like the Stones in their glam-rock guitar blitzes, but more in the sense that you can pop in Kicks at any party and everyone will respond to it positively. The album's slant towards poppy melodic hooks and toe-tapping rhythms forms a Louis XIV's sugary confection, but it's poppy in an Arctic Monkeys post-punk way draped in a new-glam-rock springiness. Tracks like Vondelpark and The Box are oozing of glam-rock's cool swagger, as Local Science takes the band into soft-pop, ballad-soaked waters with lead vocalist/guitarist Jackie McKeown's displaying timbres that resonate like U2's Bono circa Unforgettable Fire. The rhythm section of drummer Michael McGaughrin and their newest member bassist Dino Bardot create a complementing pounding that gives the songs an infectious airy-punk bounce. The glittering glockenspiel chimes ringing through The Kids gives the track a Gwen Stefani-like vibrancy, while the catchy rhythmic thrusts of Kickstrasse provide a heated pounce relatable to The Strokes courting a riotous voicing reflective of The Clash. The 1990s have a softcore punk fare that cultivates a glam rock magnetism from top to bottom in Kicks. It's an album that will revive your belief in rock filled with heart and fun.
Lyrics — 7
The songs lyrics are personal, dealing with issues that are relationship-centric. The verses work through tangled emotions that surface as a result of raging hormones and lustful cravings, sometimes leading to a broken heart. The catchy burlesque grooves of The Box are a perfect match for the flirtatious-edge in McKeowns vocals, We need to call a meeting / We need to convene / Sometimes I don't understand what you mean / Sometimes you're funny but sometimes you're not / I'm gonna have to put you back in your box / Back in your box / Yeah that's the place I keep my pairs of socks / Back in your box Everything you say to me is driving me crazy / Everything you do makes me feel good / I just wanna get back in that box with you / And maybe there'll be room for two. The lyrics mirror the tangled mess that emotions and raging hormones weave, but Local Science projects a more daydreamy ambience and feelings that are fixed on being unwavering as McKeown's musings take on a romantic-pitch, We won't make plans / I'll make any demands / But I think it's gonna work out this time.
Overall Impression — 8
The 1990s album is poppy with a level of riotous rock and softcore punk that keeps it from sounding boring or completely retro. The trio have similarities to their Scottish brethren Franz Ferdinard, though you can pick out the 1990s songs easily from Franzs or anyone elses. Local Science and The Box are completely different tracks, but they are also the most memorable on the album proving that the 1990s do not repeat themselves. They have a distinct sound that is not dependent on re-hashing their catchy hooks or rhythmic patterns. They have a glam-rock fare with an updated edge that fit's in with any crowd.