Kids Like Us

Outta Control

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Does humor belong in music? If your answer is an effusive "yes!" or even an "aw heck, why not?" then the debut album from Kids Like Us, Outta Control, is right for you. Not that humor is the sum total of its ambitions, but because it's certainly the first impression to be gleaned from the beautifully rendered monsters-wreck-city cartoon drawing (wish all CD booklets opened up to reveal vinyl-sized art), as well as assorted kooky song titles like "Box of Buttholes," "Don't Eat Rocks. We Rocks," and "Asshat." Getting past that, though, it's also immediately obvious that Kids Like Us are a very fine metallic hardcore band, in the spirit of the late-'80s crossover greats like Agnostic Front or Corrosion of Conformity -- minus the political angle. In fact, the anti-corporate rant of "The Clock on the Wall" is about the only sociopolitical statement on hand -- whoever said "crossover" had to necessarily be depressing? Instead, Kids Like Us' lyrics tend to focus on hilariously excessive antisocial nihilism ("Skate Hate," "Monster Squad," etc.), college freshman hazing ("Dog Food") and, of course, comic books ("Lantern Corps"). And, as a final twist, abnormally long final track "Gator Smash" (three whole minutes!) carries a truly surprising Southern rock influence, which is certainly something you don't find in hardcore all that often. Which brings up the point that most of Outta Control's 13 songs last just over a minute, amounting to a barely 20-minute-long set from start to finish, but a very enjoyable and filler-free one at that.

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