[sic] Magazine

Kid Romance – Scared Of Outside

Skrot Up are proud purveyors of “artful, challenging, electronic, experimental, and psychedelic lo-fi”, and now – thanks to Boston’s Kid Romance – also caustic garage cuts. And budget bedroom beats. And, frankly, everything in between. And, with the exception of only the “psychedelic” tag, Kid Romance fly the flag for all the label has to offer, doing so in but 36 brief minutes.

As a result, even the mathematically-challenged could predict that none of Scared Of Outside ‘s thirteen tracks outstay their welcome. Instead, Kid Romance careen through their varied running order at high speed – its only real sense of unity provided by the band’s commitment to smashed sonics.

Setting the tone, the atonal opener “Alright” is full of speaker-blown static and out-of-proportion vocals. It’s a clash of feedback, spiky guitar elbows and dreamy, smothering reverb that allows for ample reward to arise from its maelstrom.

Making itself very much at home in the ear however, “Cappy” is indebted to Girl-group echo and its requisite tales of the unrequited. Pushed into the now by frayed bass work and rough production, it duly concedes in time to the affecting “Terror Of History”. Beginning with a disorientating, eastern European spoken / screamed sample, its nauseous drone, undulating beats and indecipherable vocal duet recall perhaps a renegade Cocteau Twins after a run-in with Blank DogsMike Sniper .

There’s a grimy echo smeared across the prowling “Not Your Persona” – a track which seems to break with dawn-like optimism over the early 80s. Without resorting to the same level of white-noise terrorism, it’s also otherwise comparable with label-mate Grem ‘s abrasive experiments in sound that simply promise melody, rather than overtly delivering on that promise.

Clean in comparison, “Having A Baby” bubbles along on blown bass whilst its relatively – the stress is on relatively – angelic female vocal drifts amongst chiming keys. Similarly free of adornment, “Yesterday” strips back the fug and skitters around on hypnotic, wind-blown vocals and skeletal tin whistle.

Little more than a squelchy bass pulse, that same whistle, post-punk guitar spikes, quick-fire drum machine and vocal deadpans, “Little Friends” roams in dark-to-no-wave country – an idea that “White Shadows (In Your Place)” takes further. Meditatively minimal, it can’t help in turn but embody the experimental end of art-punk – something “In The Ground” tackles less successfully with clumsy, Nico -brand noodling.

Compensation comes in the form of the strong “Too Late”. Coursing with muscular bass and fuzzy, early 90s alt/grunge attitude, it’s all the same at mutually-respectful odds with the bleepy closer “Cat Call (We Hate You)”. Full of its titular cat calls, it’s a striking, if demented, bass-, feedback- and clap-heavy electro groove on which to bring down the curtain.

An urban odyssey with competing themes of homemaking and alienation – one that turns out to be decidedly more garage sale than garage rock – Scared Of Outside does away with its given agoraphobia to present a nevertheless-insular, captivating voyage through the dissociative minds of today’s attention-deficient, b-genre youth.

~Scared Of Outside is out late June 2011 on Skrot Up .~

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