by Josh Ginsberg (@world0fdarkness)
“Kids” sets itself apart from the average twee pop song off the bat. Its drums, bass and tambourine can writhe together in an unholy communion that evokes the slow-motion groove of a car dashboard dog’s effortless nod and the hazy trance of Madchester. From there, Kissing is a Crime slathers, dirty chords and clean, calm vocal harmonies upon the groove like some kind of poutine sundae whose gravy and cheese curds intermingle with maraschino cherries, hot fudge and rainbow sprinkles to surprisingly successful effect. The entrancing groove of “Kids” won’t surprise the vets of the scene, who’ll recognize Kissing is a Crime maestro Matthew Molnar as the former bassist and multi-instrumentalist of the extremely groovy bygone Brooklyn buzz-band Friends, whose embrace of 80s and 90s pop presaged the poptimism that has come to redefine indie music and DIY culture today. Clearly Beatrice Rothbaum and Alex Feldman, who handle bass and drum duties, respectively, have learned from Molnar’s tenure in that group. While most twee is rhythmically brittle and endearingly sloppy, the subtlety and professionalism of “Kids” elevates the song over its contemporaries.
The twee sub-genre is best known for its prissy posturing and rudimentary instrumentation; the version of twee that Kissing is a Crime churns out, however, is twee by and for the kids who smoked cigarettes on the hoods of their teachers’ cars instead of going to Chem—whose every Tuesday is a Saturday by a little after 1 PM. Like the badass rock kids of yore, “Kids” takes a trip through rock history—touching on Pavement’s “Summer Babe,” The Stones’s “Wild Horses,” Morrissey’s “You’re the One for Me Fatty,” The Pixies’ Doolittle, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica and the first Stone Roses record in the span it takes to go from one chorus to the next. Awash in lyrics about the slow march of time and the candy-coated crunch the word “Saturday” connotes in any American person’s mind, Kissing is a Crime’s “Kids” transports the listener back to the halcyon days of their youth, with a poignant nostalgia that anyone who’s ever experienced the loss of growing older knows all too well.
Kissing Is A Crime's self-titled album is out March 24th via Don Giovanni Records.