Kids are alright

Sprouting Horns to Give up the Ghost
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 28, 2010

beat2_GoodKids_main
PROMISING START Good Kids Sprouting Horns.

Sometimes, it's good to set the bar low. Even the [dog] and [pony] label press materials note the debut Good Kids Sprouting Horns album, Give up the Ghost, is "unprofessional," and the album's liner notes proudly proclaim the album was "recorded in a small bedroom of a second floor apartment in Bangor, Maine."

So, complaining about the lack of fidelity is sort of pointless. The real question is whether you can wade through murk to get something out of 10 songs buried within it.

There's cool stuff here, though. On that opener, Ryan Higgins provides nice subtle drum work, riding a tambourine and filling with the snare to create an inward-looking beat to complement songwriter and frontman Anthony Bitetti's introspective lyrics: "22 and I still think back when we were young . . . held the secrets on the tips of our tongues/But what did we know?" Higgins also does some great quick brushwork on "Woodwork," a crazy mania juxtaposed with Bitetti's lugubrious delivery: "My insides are twisting themselves into knots."

Though the vocals are often muted, or simply badly captured, there are some real moments of beauty, too, as Bitetti's growl is lifted up by the crystalline backing vocals of Jessamy Luthin, as "Tight White Lines," which moves back and forth from perfectly stripped down to a rambling, crashing full-band sound. Luthin's keyboards are startlingly pretty at times, too, like melody lines from music boxes that were never made.

Strangely enough, Bitetti's delivery isn't that different from Wesley Allen Hartley's (or Okkervil River's Will Sheff), and it wasn't that long ago that the first Cat & Mouse compilations introduced us to pretty lo-fi initial work from Dead End Armory. Do Good Kids have the same kind of potential? Absolutely. Bitetti can write like hell and his delivery drips with real emotion. Make sure you get this album if you want to be able to say you heard it first.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached atsam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

GIVE UP THE GHOST | Released by Good Kids Sprouting Horns | on [dog] and [pony] | at Arootsakoostik, in New Sweden | Aug 7 | at KahBang, in Bangor | Aug 13 and 14 | myspace.com/charlieinthebox

  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Good Kids Sprouting Horns,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FIRST SECOND COMING  |  August 22, 2014
    Hey, look, I Discovered a Planet
  •   THE CRUNK WITCH THAT THEY ARE  |  August 14, 2014
    Three albums in, Crunk Witch are now far more than novelty. The all-digital, husband-wife duo of Brandon Miles and Hannah Collen have created enough material at this point to establish a clear method behind what can sometimes seem like madness.  
  •   FIRE ON FIRE  |  August 07, 2014
    From the varying deliveries and styles through the three fully instrumental tracks, there’s a lot to consider in Pyronauts , with equal attractions in playing it loud in the car with the windows down and in the headphones.
  •   HIP HOP SUMMER  |  July 31, 2014
    For pure output, it’s hard to argue Portland is anything but a hip hop city.
  •   SEVEN-MAN ARMY  |  July 24, 2014
    Lately, it’s been open season on “Wagon Wheel,” which has become the acoustic musician’s “Freebird,” one of the very few songs that people actually know well enough to find it funny to request.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE