[sic] Magazine

The Boo Radleys – C’mon Kids, Enhanced Edition

From a critical perspective the Boos fifth album was a case of the glass half full Vs the glass half empty. To many listeners, C’mon Kids must have felt like a second album, a follow up to the number one seller, Wake Up! This is possibly the biggest reason why C’mon Kids is regularly branded “difficult” or “non-commercial”. Latecomer, New Radleys fans were left puzzled by the apparent swerve away from Britpop. Of course the counterclaim was that the Boos had simply gone back to what they were doing before. Giant Steps had been loaded with wild experimentalism. C’mon Kids, likewise, but I cannot view it as retroactive. All the Boo’s albums were riotous mixtures of noise, harmony, melody and mayhem.

The thing is with The Boo Radleys is that they can try virtually anything and it comes out sounding distinctly them. C’mon Kids wasn’t like Giant Steps at all except that it was a Boo Radleys album and a Boo Radleys album meant a certain style and a certain quality. Thus with every Boo Radleys album you have a handful of nuggets. This time around the plaudits go to ‘Everything Is Sorrow’, ‘New Brighton Promenade’ and ‘Ride The Tiger’, tracks that would make any songwriter proud. In between, you have all manner of stylistic ideas and, yes, experimentation. It’s what a good album should be, isn’t it? Varied, interesting, flawed.

I think C’mon Kids difficult tag stems from the fact that it is front-loaded with weirdness and noise. ‘What’s In The Box’ is shouty. The title track is driven by skuzzy, Garage guitars and both, amazingly, were singles. ‘Meltin’s Worm’ carries an uttlerly bizarre story and then you have ‘Get On The Bus’, a nod to Ken Kesey the beat writer, and psychedelic prankster. It’s an album that demands something of the listener. Not least a bit of patience. Maybe some found the title patronizing? C’mon Kids suggested the Boo Radleys knew better. ‘Follow us’. ‘We’ll enlighten you’. It wasn’t meant to seem condescending though. Singer Sice explained:

“All we wanted to do was try something new – to keep ourselves fresh and interested. We were very surprised to find that it was seen as a deliberate attempt to scare away newly created fans. We didn’t want to scare away the hit-kids, we wanted to take them with us to somewhere that we’d not been before. All we wanted to do was make a different type of album than Wake Up…”

Did C’mon Kids lose half the Boos fanbase? I’m not so sure. I think ‘Wake Up Boo’, (the single) had been the real anomaly. Wake Up! went to number one because of that single and some buyers were probably scratching their heads even at that stage. They were never going to flock to C’mon Kids, particularly when the first two singles indicated/confirmed this ‘new’ direction.

For me The Boo Radleys were the closest thing to a Beatles in my lifetime. (and C’mon Kids is their Magical Mystery Tour) The glass was neither half full nor half empty. It’s far more accurate to say their cup was overflowing – messy then, but still fascinating.

Cherry Red’s enhanced edition (not deluxe, this is only a two disc) is out now and bundles an extra disc of the usual b-sides and satellite tracks. Perhaps for the first time these extras lack any one standout that you might say expanded the whole Boo Radleys legacy. Nevertheless decent and consistent throughout. Don’t miss our interview with Martin Carr. Links provided.