Simple Kid

1

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Much of the press heaped upon Simple Kid around the release of his debut 1 recycled the "Dylan of the new generation" cliché, and while that comparison has worked well for Beck, does anyone actually remember other "modern Dylans" like Block or John Oszajca? And truth be told, most of 1 sounds a bit like Beck, but very little like Bob Dylan, so wouldn't that make Simple Kid a third-generation of Dylan? Either way, it's no matter because the best moments on 1 are actually where Simple Kid apes a different '60s figure -- Ray Davies -- for thrilling tales of mendacity. It's songs like "The Average Man" and "The Commuter" where Simple Kid establishes his identity as a guitar-based storyteller; one who leans equally on post-alt rock soundscapes as he does on classic Britpop ranging from the Kinks to Blur. He falters when he indulges his sonic experiments, such as in the trippy "Drugs," or "Love's an Enigma, which both sound like third-rate Super Furry Animals. It's the chunky power pop and twee falsetto in songs like "Staring at the Sun that make 1 feel like a celebration of '90s Britpop, ten years on, only with some modern flourishes sprinkled in. It's true that the shifting styles make 1 something of a rocky listen -- especially when the tempo drags so much in the middle of the album -- but the good bits, the truly adventurous bits, are where Simple Kid is content to sit still and write about other people who are also sitting still.

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