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The Kickovers land with debut LP
9 May 2002
Pure pop for new people.

Nate Albert was guitarist for ’80s into ’90s ska-metal band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who, no doubt, provided much of the musical impetus behind acts such as... No Doubt. He has a new band called The Kickovers—based out of Boston, like the Bosstones—that heads back in time to the early-’80s but then takes off in a somewhat different direction.
    The Kickovers deliver pre-grunge, power-pop/new wave, evoking images of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and The Replacements. Yeah, that world’s old and tired, but Albert and company have slapped it awake, thrown some cold water in its face, and pumped it up with a double espresso or two.
    Besides, plenty of kids weren’t alive or musically conscious when all that stuff was happening, so for y’all it might as well be new. And having lived through that era myself, I find The Kickovers’ masterful take on power pop a lot more compelling than the best efforts of the dozens of young bands these days who come off as a watered-down re-hash.
    The Kickovers’ debut is called Osaka, a title which has nothing to do with anything, best I can tell. It kicks off with a 15 second blast of punk/hardcore noise (called I’m Plastic), as if to let ya know that these guys totally get the context in which they’re presenting their raw, potent, but rather tidy songs... and as if to clue you in that Albert certainly enjoys the occasional mind fuck. Then, it’s 1980. Punk has landed on planet earth and power pop gets the message out to the mainstream. Get on your denim & leather and start pogoing.
    There’s something extra comfortable, like your favorite clothes for hanging around the house, about masterful exposition within a time-tested format. Let down your guard. This is plenty cool.
    Albert worked on his new LP throughout 2001 at Boston’s Wooly Mammoth Studios, getting help from members of Weezer, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Orbit, The Shods, Frank Black And The Catholics, and The Neighborhoods. It’s the very first release from the new Fenway Recordings label, started by former Grand Royal Records president Mark Kates. The songs are strong, the performances refined, the arrangements impeccable, the energy tangible. The one cover, Hanging On The Telephone (by The Nerves, previously covered by Blondie) fits in perfectly and provides an elegant centerpiece. As pure pop as this record most ceratainly is, it is the FUN that was had in the making of it that shines through. Four bites out of five.

Rockbites ratings  5: life changing, 4: stunning, 3: captivating, 2: amusing, 1: annoying.

The Kickovers played last night in Providence, Rhode Island, and continue Friday on a northeast tour (see below) including a live radio performance available on the Web this Sunday, and a slot at the WBCN River Rave next month, playing alongside Outkast, POD, Papa Roach, and The Strokes.

10 - Boston, MA (Bill’s Bar)
12 - Boston, MA (live on WFNX Radio 101.7 FM)
25 - Middletown, RI (Skater Island)

  1 - Brooklyn, NY (No. Six)
  7 - Philadelphia, PA (The Fire)
  8 - Poughkeepsie, NY (Crannel/Chance)
  9 - Foxboro, MA (WBCN River Rave)

The Kickovers | The Kickovers on Fenway Recordings | | WFNX-FM 101.7 | | Heart Attack (QuickTime video) | | CD from Amazon US | | top of page |


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