Album Review: Kid Is Qual - 'Damn Son EP'

31 December 2011 | 1:05 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Repetitive and after a while, annoying.

When a band consists of two bass players and a drummer, you know to expect something a little different. Especially when the band is the new project from former Jack's Mannequin bass player, Jonathan Sullivan and there isn't one single element on the three piece's new EP, 'Damn Son,' that is reminiscent of Sullivan's former employers.

Bass driven is obviously an understatement, but the heavily distorted, dance, synth, indie pop, that the group produce, manages to use its leading bass guitars in interesting ways. Opening track Knights Of Ole, sets the scene, with it's driving, hi-hats-on-the-off-beat rhythm, pulsating bass tones and fuzzed out robot vocals which deliver lines like “I wanna meet you at the dance floor.” It is pretty safe to say that if you don't like this track, the rest of the EP would be a waste of time.

The group manage to balances moments which almost fall into a woeful LMFAO category, with an impressive understanding of various forms of rock music. By the time you have reached the half way point, You're A Crumb, I Am Ole, the pace of the beat, which is the same for virtually every song, and the fuzzed out vocals melodies, which are also virtually the same for every song, become very tiresome.

Whilst tracks like Qual Is Qual exhibit some interesting sounds, impressive considering the limited amount of instruments the trio claim to be using, it is hard to see this music appreciated much outside of a club full of extremely “happy” people. Regurgitator are the kings of music like this but the reason why they are successful, and have been around for as long as they have, is because over a career seven records, they have seriously mixed things up. Kid Is Qual have failed to even show hints of doing that in a mere seven tracks.

Me Gu is offensive on the ears and quite simply annoying, and the title track uses auto-tuned vocals set against a whiny synth lead riff, which when put together are very uninteresting. The EP finishes off with a cover of David Guetta's Sexy Chick, which musically isn't too bad as it strips back the effects and shows exactly what a band with two bass players and a drummer can do, but the song is a piece of crap and this version doesn't differ enough from the original to work in any way to improve it, maybe they can give the 'Punk Goes Pop' series a call...

Jack's Mannequin's fans will probably see Sullivan's name and check out Kid Is Qual out of curiosity, and it will be surprising if they stick around past the first two tracks of this EP. The idea of the band is interesting but there is no where near enough variance in this music to make it worthwhile.

1. Knights Of Ole
2. Motel, No Tell
3. You're A Crumb, I'm Ole
4. Qual Is Qual
5. Me Gu
6. Damn Son
7. Sexy Chick