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We The Kings - Smile Kid

We The Kings, Smile Kid

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

WE THE Kings are rapidly becoming a major force in American rock-pop thanks to radio-friendly hits such as Heaven Can Wait and She Takes Me High.

They now hit the UK with debut album Smile Kid and impress in small doses. The album comes armed with typically impressive credentials, not least courtesy of the production values of SAM and SLUGGO (Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship).

The sunny disposition contained within their songwriting, meanwhile, is designed to channel the positive pop energy of UK acts like Scouting For Girls and America acts such as Cobra Starship, with a little McFly thrown in.

And therein lies the biggest problem. While catchy in a throwaway kind of fashion, it’s also a steadfastly generic offering that’s screaming out for a little more depth and maturity.

As things stand, it’s full of campus hits and soundtrack filler moments in waiting, existing to provide the backdrop for a lively party or a summer barbecue, without really ever making you want to hang out and spend some genuine time with it.

Tracks like Summer Love are particularly guilty of this – melodic, catchy, OK… but clearly striving to become the summer-time equivalent of one of those Christmas anthems. That is to say, obvious and eventually tedious.

The same can be said for album opener She Takes Me High, which unfolds amid skyscraping guitar riffs and a “do do do do da” harmonising. It’s arguably the pick of the album’s tracks, and even has a vaguely Fountains of Wayne and/or Feeder style stomp. But it also lacks the lasting emotional value of a Fountains song… opting instead to just bounce around in a lovey dovey haze that’s more befitting the teen listener market. It lacks resonance.

Likewise, anthemic [for them] offerings such as Heaven Can Wait and Rain Falls Down, a stab at something more yearning (“trying to say what won’t come out”, etc) that taps into the maturity that’s mostly lacking.

Given the market they’re aimed at, We The Kings deliver the type of lively music that’s best described as a sure thing. But they’ll need to step things up a little in the future if they’re really to make a more lasting impression!

Download picks: She Takes Me High, Heaven Can Wait, In-N-Out (Animal Style)

Track listing:

  1. She Takes Me High
  2. Promise The Stars
  3. Heaven Can Wait
  4. Story Of Your Life, The
  5. Rain Falls Down
  6. Summer Love
  7. In N Out (Animal Style)
  8. Spin
  9. Anna Maria (All We Need)
  10. We’ll Be A Dream – We The Kings & Demi Lovato
  11. What You Do To Me
  12. Check Yes Juliet