Now, three years after the breakup of P:ano and with a grant from the Canada Council For The Arts in hand, remaining members Nick Krgovich, Justin Kellam, and Julia Chirka return as No Kids with an instantly endearing debut album.
Armed with Krgovich’s soulful croon, some light, playful (but effective) percussive elements, and a battalion of collaborators, No Kids stumble across greatness on Come Into My House. A mixed bag of genre combinations that would sound scattered or forced coming from another band, the album shines as a collection of pop, R&B, lounge, dance, and light rock elements that all come through the indie-tinged lens of Krgovich’s songwriting.
Album opener Great Escape, a piano ballad supported by an arrangement of lush strings and woodwinds, exhibits the laid back mood that carries through most of Come Into My House. In a streamlined Sufjan Stevens sort of fashion, Krgovich fuses the instrumentation and minimal drumbeat of Great Escape together with his comfortably placed falsetto, singing in an inspiring way about harboring a lack of direction: “For I’ve been travelling, but it’s been no great escape. Wandering the gardens of the estate is doing nothing for me”.
Next up is the standout track For Halloween, which jumps in with a syncopated beat, a determined piano, and electronic flourishes. The song features some the of the R&B singing that will be more prominently showcased in The Beaches Are Closed and Bluster In The Air. But with For Halloween, No Kids have created an infectious blend of soulful, harmonized vocals, marvelous sounding layered instruments, and a bouncy dance beat.
No Kids highlight their flexibility across the length of Come Into My House, but it really becomes evident after the transition from the mainly R&B influenced Bluster In The Air to the pop-heavy world music of I Love The Weekend. Summoning Jens Lekman, I Love The Weekend presents a flute riff with a steady percussive click, adding instruments along the way but always keeping everything nicely balanced and full of energy.
What follows is pure barbershop harmonies on Four Freshman Locked Out As The Sun Goes Down. The second half of the album takes on similar twists and turns – the lounge feel of You Looked Good To Me; the minimal, smooth sincerity of Dancing In The Stacks; even the de-emphasized lilt of the album’s closer, The Puddle, which drops off rather suddenly instead of ending with a bang.
The thing about No Kids’ eclecticism is that it never feels forced – all the styles are linked to an overall indie pop aesthetic that pervades the music. At its core, throughout the course of Come Into My House, No Kids remain a group of talented musicians with excellent, compelling ideas.