This 1983 album pushes Kix in a more new wave direction than their hard-rocking debut outing. On this surface, Cool Kids might seem like a commercialized cash grab: it contains a handful of tracks penned by hired guns like Nick Gilder and Holly Knight and also adds a layer of new wave-styled synthesizer shadings to Kix's pop-metal sound. However, this impression is soon revealed to be wrong as soon as the album is spun because the outside song contributions fit neatly in with the group's own songs and the sonic embellishments enhance the group's sound instead of watering it down. The standouts among the outside contributions are the title track, which blends new wave verses driven by staccato guitar lines with a hard-rocking, shoutalong chorus, and "Body Talk," a danceable fusion of hard rock firepower and a synthesizer-layered new wave beat. The group's songs live up to the standard set by these carefully constructed tunes by presenting an equal amount of hooks and inspiration: "Mighty Mouth" is like a bubblegum song played at hard rock speed and "Get Your Monkeys Out" blends glam rock drum beats with jungle noises and a singalong chorus. However, its finest achievement is "For Shame," an soulful, acoustic power ballad with lovely harmonies that predates all the hair metal ballads that would become popular during the mid-'80s. Pete Solley's slick production manages to bring all this strong material to life by effectively balancing the group's guitar-fuelled power with an array of arrangement frills (voice-box guitars, drum machines) that draw attention to the strong pop hooks in each song. The end result is an underrated gem that is begging to be rediscovered by fans of pop-metal.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco