Album Reviews

Kid British – It Was This Or Football

(Mercury) UK release date: 20 July 2009

So keen are Kid British to draw parallels between music and football, they’re releasing their debut album in two halves, with a pre-season first leg and a second in September, when the football season will be well underway.

It’s a risky move for sure – and anyone listening to the first extended EP might be thinking twice about the allure of a full season ticket.

“You hold a better conversation, when born in a grimey location” they reason in Our House Is Dadless. That’s all very well, but when there aren’t many tunes to go with your music, except maybe those you’ve borrowed from Madness, what are we to do?

It’s rather like listening to Audio Bullys, without the tunes and the edge. For all the protestations that “I’ve got to get a job, but I really wanna do this music”, the music itself is too comfortable and risk free. And for conversations allegedly recorded in grimey locations, the subjects are pretty middle of the road.

While Our House Is Dadless is the Madness pilferer, tagging the chorus on to a lazy rap, Jangly Elizabeth meanders round without anything that can be approximated to a tune.

She Will Leave is better, though it does tread the familiar boards of a night out on the town, done so well by the likes of the Streets, the Bullys and Wiley. It introduces us to the hapless Tony, who accidentally pisses on his own leg during a drunken night out, while still expecting his girl to be coming back for more. “She’s getting off quite shortly”, the chorus goes. Girls – would you really come back for more?!

At least Kid British can’t be accused of taking themselves too seriously, and some of their asides are cheerfully humourous. On the last Soccer AM of the last football season they demonstrated this well, taking to the stage to deliver I Love Football, a cleverly devised rap on the previous season. It’s thrown in here as a bonus track, but shows up the rest with its instinctive good humour.

While Kid British do manage to paint a picture of street life in 21st century Britain, the pictures they paint are stained – and often lack insight. To sum up in football terms, there’s a bit of flair going forward, and a couple of nifty tricks from the winger – but their leaky defence means they face an uphill battle in the second half. Hopefully the crowd won’t decide to leave at half time.

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Kid British – It Was This Or Football