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Sticky kid stuff

The Kicks

The Kicks - Hello Hong Kong
(TVT Records)
1 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 8, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

From their look - scruffy hair, worn jeans and t-shirts - it seems that the Litlle Rock, Arkansas quartet might be trying to squeeze into the already overpopulated garage rock sect. But from the first strains that emit from their TVT debut Hello Hong Kong its apparent these guys are catering to a much younger demographic.
Built on power pop hooks and modern faux punk energy, some of the songs here should seemingly work, but ultimately don't. Maybe it's the fact that we've heard this type of juvenile drivel all too many times before with the likes of Good Charlotte, The Get Up Kids and Blink 182. Or maybe it's singer / guitarist Scottie Cook's whiney voice and, all too often, sophomoric lyrics ("I think you're dreamy, I can't tell" and "I don't want to listen to your ass tonight. Got a fifth and I'm doing alright.") Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that four guys pumped up on testosterone and misguided pop songs, and little else, do not make for an arresting rock album.
From the radio-ready ear candy of "Pop Star Radio Crown" and "Bomb" to the bubblegum punk ditties "MIR" and "Satellite" there's no denying the amount of energy these boys exude, but by the second or third track it comes off sounding overly contrived and extremely immature.
Never mind the comparisons to bands like The Replacements, The Pixies, Foo Fighters and Black Flag that are peppered throughout their press bio either, these guys are nothing more than just another kiddie pop-punk band with a few hooks, saccharine sweet sentiments and just enough Saturday morning appeal to give your kid sister something to latch onto after she outgrows her Hello Kitty dollhouse.

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