Friday, January 23, 2009

Kid British: Britpop Ska

Forgive me for my ska obsessions (see: RiceRokit, for example), but what better place to express my pathetic pathologies than in the public arena of a blog (that is, if there are actually more than a handful of people out there reading this thing on a regular basis). I continue to be intrigued by Kid British, who seem poised to hit it pretty big in the UK with their mix of ska (think Madness' ska-music hall pop--they cover "Our House" on their upcoming album, which, if it's good, seems to guarantee them some airplay--and The Specials' mid-tempo stuff like "Do Nothing"), Britpop (a la Blur or the Gorillaz, which I know is almost being redundant), and whatever other genre suits their mood (British musical tastes seem to be much more omnivorous than American's, much to our detriment). I just mail-ordered Kid British's 10" vinyl EP from a record shop in Britain and will review it when it arrives at my lair in Gotham (sure, I could just listen to essentially the same tracks on their MySpace page--but that just ain't the same as putting the needle on the record, looking over the album jacket, and listening to the whole thing on my stereo a few times in a row).

Here's a bit from RWD Magazine to pique your interest, and be sure to check out "Part Time Job/Shirt & Tie" live clip at the bottom--it's good stuff:

Kid British: Kool Brittania

We found Manchester quartet Kid British ‘lost in London,’ so we directed the ska/ slash/ indie kids to tell us exactly what they have in common with Take That, Suggs and Queen Elizabeth! words By Rajveer Kathwadia

“Sorry, I’ve gotta finish mixes for this great album,” beat-maker Sean explains of having to rush off from our interview with Kid British. Once we’d received a heartfelt promise from the producer that he would be present next time, we sat down with the Manchester menagerie. The remaining British Kids are found striking a pose and expressing their love of The Clipse and the rest of their wide and varied spectrum of influences to our photographer James. “Their first album was amazing,” says band member No. 1 AKA James before bandmate No. 2, Adio adds. “All four of us are writers and we all listen to different stuff – just anything that’s good.” Final member Simeon concludes “From Take That through to The Clipse, if we think they’ve written a good song, we’ll listen to it.” It is this eclectic taste that has sculpted the music of the quartet who dabbled with garage and hip hop before evolving into the hotpot of noise they are today. “The musical path we took helped us develop our sound,” James explains. “The lyrics are written in the same way as putting a rap down, except to a different kind of music and with a bit of a melody to it. It’s just disguised rapping, it’s nothing we’ve formulated.”

With a sound that incorporates all of the options found under an iTunes genre field, it is hard to pinpoint Kid British’s style, though they have been likened to ‘80s ska outfits The Specials and Madness. “A lot of people compare us to Specials cos of the mixed race make up of the group,” Simeon decides of the comparisons. “But I think we are more like Madness when it comes to the way we write our music cos it is fun, but also with clever messages and stories behind the songs.” Kid British have paid homage to Suggs and Co. by covering the classic Our House, yet they have a whole slew of original material that is just as good. “There is substance to our music,” Adio furthers. “It’s not just about the chorus. If you don’t listen to the lyrics you won’t get the song.”

“Manchester is known for having ‘real’ music. It’s built up on a great tradition of artists coming out with a lot of confidence. The former firefighter insists though that’s it’s difficult for a group from outside of the capital to be heard by the industry. “Everything’s down there so we do have to work extra hard.” Another problem that outsiders to London have is negotiating the public transport. The group have documented the pitfalls of TFL with their song Lost In London.

With an album on the way that includes other live favourites such as Let’s Have A Party, Part Time Job and Sunny Days due some time in the New Year, what does the future hold for Kid British? “We wanna come out with a bang and stick around,” James asserts. “We don’t wanna be one of those bands that people will look back on in only a few years time and think to themselves ‘They were good them, weren’t they.’ We still wanna be going in 10 years time and have a sustained career.” Simeon concludes. “In the same way Madness and The Specials are named when people talk about us, we wanna influence people so that we’re mentioned when people talk about them.”

Kid British's new EP Leaving London is out now and features She Will Leave, Elizabeth and Lost In London.

Kid British
"Part Time Job/Shirt & Tie"


David T said...

I'm sure more people follow the blog than you may expect. Lots of people may read and few comment.


Steve from Moon said...


Thanks for your feedback. Good to know you are reading Duff Guide to Ska!


David T said...

No problem. I also just started a ska blog recently to post some general thoughts, album reviews, etc. Check out if you have time:

I just put a Toasters "One More Bullet" review up.


Anonymous said...

Uk music is definitely at a new level this year.. check out this new artist i stumbled across the other day called Harmonay - ... Decided to promote her and her new single called 'Are You A Raver?'