The Cool Kids | When Fish Ride Bicycles

Green Label Sound (2011)
By DAN WEISS  |  July 19, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

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As you'd expect from the name, the Cool Kids have a fascination with social status and trends as well as with rebelling against them. Their debut full-length is only now seeing the light of day, but why fuss over that when they sound out-of-time from the start? The Bake Sale EP certainly didn't sound like 2008, with its minimal, grunting beats and mature-geek approach to summer freestyling. It peaked with, what else, "A Little Bit Cooler," a smirking bit of reverse psychology that could leave you feeling bad about your good social status. When Fish Ride Bicycles doesn't have the same old-school shine to it. Instead it feels caught between a few different directions, as personified by its guest list: Travis Barker, Asher Roth, Bun B, and the irreducible Ghostface Killah. But even with the help, none of the tracks stretch particularly far from the Cool Kids' limited palette. "Rush Hour Traffic," "Swimsuits," and "Sour Apples" give off the most percussive thrills, but slowly the album fades into the background and the tracks struggle to distinguish themselves — aside from the loop-in from Peter and the Wolf in "Penny Hardaway." The rapping sounds forthright as ever, but the hooks could've been a little bit cooler.

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