“Paralyzed” opens up “Are You Nervous?” and the dance-punk played by Rock Kills Kid is something that is often replicated but never duplicated. This is the next step beyond Franz Ferdinand, as there are the angular arrangements present throughout this album. However, this angular sound is not the only thing that fuels the album, as the soulful vocals look back to the days of Duran Duran while the fullness of this track is something that only The Psychedelic Furs or Peter Gabriel could come up with.
“Hideaway” is the perfect example of a song that could end an eighties teen movie, preferably by one John Hughes. However, Rock Kills Kid also inserts so more current sounds in this track, to the degree that “Hideaway” sounds like a cousin to The Killers’ hit “Mr. Brightside”. Rock Kills Kid continue their journey around their parents’ eighties album by inserting a bass line into their “Midnight” that would be perfect for “The Magnificent Seven”. Couple that with the rest of the band attempting to sound like U2, and one has a song that has all the bouncy nature of a Debarge track.
The title track continues the eighties soundtrack style for Rock Kills Kid, but during this go around, Rock Kills Kid has a present type of indie rock to their sound that links them inexorably to acts like Interpol. The pomp of this track gains another dimension when Rock Kills Kid elicits a very specific emotional outreach for their listeners; they really are being lead around like puppets on a string during this disc. The great thing about Rock Kills Kid is their ability to make songs that they have created perhaps a year ago sound as if they have been played on classic rock and pop radio for the last twenty years. For example, a song like “Back To Life” sounds more like Spandau Ballet than even SPandau Ballet does now. The entirety of “Are You Nervous?” is a journey for listeners, which sees listeners even go into territory previously only inhabited by Tom Petty and A-Ha (“Run Like Hell”). Rock Kills Kid has a bold new sound that firmly establishes itself in a much earlier musical tradition. This is not as if Rock Kills Kid is a retro band, but this is how they live; they are not donning a specific costume when they get onto stage. In much the same way, The Darkness do what Rock Kills Kid does, and both bands succeed without anything in the way of faults.
Top Tracks: Run Like Hell, Midnight
Rock Kills Kid – Are You Nervous? / 2006 Reprise / 10 Tracks / http://www.rockkillskid.com / http://www.reprise.com / Reviewed 29 April 2006