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Criminal Kids - 'Criminal Kids' EP Review


1. Takin’ It Back

2. Little Bitch

3. Night

4. Outcast

5. Vanity

6. Life

I love Punk 'n Roll. I love that driving rhythm with the Classic Rock 'n Roll guitars and a strong hook laid over the top of it. Electric Frankenstein are one of my favorite bands in the genre, and it was a rush each time a new 45 showed up at my local store back in the day. Why am I going on about this? Simple- Criminal Kids create that same rush on this debut EP which gets the adrenaline pumping and the body moving. They are a 4 piece from Chicago who will try to take command of your turntable.

With six songs in 16 minutes, the Criminal Kids are not wasting time. ‘Takin’ It Back’ gets us started with our fists in the air and heads bobbing along as it sets the table for what is to follow. The shouted chorus sticks initially but starts to stand out more with additional listens. I love the guitar solo as well as the breakdown to just the bass (Chris) and drums (Anthony) at the end. ‘Little Bitch’ shows off some bass work with the rabid vocals making me feel like I can sing along. One of the strengths the Criminal Kids use is to pick their spots for the guitars (Ryan and Mike) to decimate the listener. The riff here has grabbed me from my first listen. This could be a blueprint for the genre on this song. I referenced Electric Frankenstein in my introduction and would say that Ryan’s vocals feel like a cross between Scott Wilkins and Steve Miller which is a very good thing to my ears.

‘Night’ may be familiar to some as it was on their double a side single released last year. I have to say I play a mean air guitar to this one and can’t stay in one place on the stage... okay, the living room. ‘Outcast’ follows which was our other early single and again serves as a world class exhibit for Punk 'n Roll. The hook is simple and just gets better with each listen. The guitar riff that breaks up the solo and brings us back to the chorus at the end is stellar.

The formula doesn’t change as we go which I think is a great thing. ‘Vanity’ keeps the heads banging and doesn’t let up one bit. The guitar riff has again burned its way into my brain, and I wonder how long I have been jumping off the sofa and banging into the walls. I can almost smell the fire coming off the guitar from the solo. The vocal hook at the end sticks its teeth in for good measure. Closer ‘Life’ begins with the bass and drums setting the table for a lightning riff that lights the fuse for the song to explode. This serves as a great bookend to end the album with the final part of the song featuring a killer solo.

Each time after the EP ends, I find myself grinning ear to ear while I wipe the sweat off my brow and think to myself “Let’s do that again!” The band does not waste a second here and has announced their arrival on the scene with an incredible burst of 6 songs that does not change the fundamentals of the genre, but they absolutely do revitalize it. I cannot recommend this enough but am not responsible for any damage to your home that slamming around to these songs may cause. Now, let me pick up a new air guitar as I destroyed my last one after diving off the sofa….

‘Criminal Kids’ is available on vinyl from Spaghetty Town Records in the United States and God’s Candy Records in Canada.

Review - Gerald Stansbury

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