It May Not Be Andrew W.K., But It's Still A Partie*

Partie Traumatic, Black Kids
7/7- UK; 7/22- US
Almost Gold Recordings; Columbia Records

1. Hit the Heartbrakes
2. Partie Traumatic
3. Listen To Your Body Tonight
4. Hurricane Jane
5. I'm Making Eyes at You
6. I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)
7. I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
8. Love Me Already
9. I Wanna Be Your Limousine
10. Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo)

The slight racism in the band's name aside, Black Kids, from Jacksonville, Fla., crept onto the indie music scene in late 2006. Since, however, the band has played both Coachella and Radio 1's Big Weekend, gaining rave reviews from media outlets everywhere, from Pitchfork Media to The New York Times. The acclaim has brought fame (their first single I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You debuted at #11 on the British charts), and of course the ensuing fortune that comes with signing a record deal with Columbia Records (Pink Floyd, John Mayer and a substantial portion of the popular music acts of the past half-century). Were they up to the challenge that comes with having their debut full-length on a major label? Would they be able to recreate the appeal of their 2007 Wizard of Ahhhs EP? To be honest, I'm torn.

The appeal of Partie Traumatic really comes from, first and foremost, whether you are into this kind of music or not. For those who spend their time chilling to The Bravery, MGMT or Cyndi Lauper- congratulations, you've found your favorite album of 2008. For the rest of you, I guess it depends on the mood you're in. Admittedly, I am not the world's biggest proponent of catchy, synth-driven indie-pop. That said, I have been able to find enjoyment in listening to this album, but not without some issues which will undoubtedly stop others from completing this ten-song pop extravaganza.

For those who fell in love with
Wizard of Ahhhs, you'll like that all four tracks from that recording are present on this one. The changes are slight, just with more synths, on top of the heavy layers already present. It's a driving, fun and friendly recording from the opener, Hit the Heartbrakes, to about halfway through the ninth track, I Wanna Be Your Limousine. Once you arrive at that point, it's a sad tale of either over-ambition, or just weirdness. The band borders on creepy/awkward with the refrain "oh-wee-oh", courtesy of the Wizard of Oz movie (I'm sensing a theme. Anyone else?) rising up through the final two minutes of Limousine. After that, they give you some hope with the beginning of Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo), and then, well, I'm not sure what to think. The album tends to leave me confused each time I complete it. Where'd the energy and fun go? Uncomfortable may be a good word to describe it.

On the bright side, the aforementioned Heartbrakes and Dance With You are hits; winners that make you just want to get up and , literally dance, yourself. Some of you may embrace that urge, while others will just think about it. While following through with these urges, or choosing not to, whichever you prefer, also keep in mind Love Me Already and Partie Traumatic (which sounds oddly familiar, but I can't put my finger on it), two more entertaining, boogie-inducing jams. I will never endorse skipping tracks on a good album, but if you must, see the above paragraph, as well as Listen To Your Body Tonight, which may be an NSync cover, or at least sounds like one.

For those of you in the US, keep an eye out for this record on July 22nd. I'm sure the hype machine the hype machine is just revving up in support of its release. Anyone reading from Europe, the album's out already on Almost Gold Recordings (Peter Bjorn and John), and you can catch them galavanting all over the continent on a headlining tour this summer.

Grade: 6.5/10. I'd listen to some tracks prior to purchase.

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