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Kicking Harold - 2002 Space Age Breakdown


KICKING HAROLD - SPACE AGE BREAKDOWN (2002, MITYMA RECORDS)
Tim David Kelly - vocals, guitars
Daniel Todd Ramsay - bass, vocals
Michael Phillips Keeley - drums


Background
If you can remember back to the dim and distant days of 1996, you may well recall a band called Kicking Harold. Bursting out of the alternative rock scene with their debut album 'Ugly and Festering', the band briefly achieved their fifteen minutes of fame by signing with MCA and joining the Vans Warped tour. Fronted by Tim David Kelly, the three-piece looked on the brink of the big time, but before they knew it, their time was up and Kelly was left to pursue an extremely well received independent solo project (2000's 'Growing Up Naked'). Now, six years on, Kelly has revived Kicking Harold, and the resulting album, 'Space Age Breakdown' is simply one of the best modern rock records, indie or major-label, you will hear in 2002. These days, Kelly is the only remaining original member of Kicking Harold, and the band's sound is slightly more mature and melodic, yet the raw power and energy of the original band is still intact.

The Songs
Nowhere is this more evident than on the explosive 'Gasoline' - a sensational, intense, real adrenaline rush of a song. Opening with an acoustic riff, the tune explodes into a powerful, hard-hitting yet incredibly melodic tune that defines the band's 'Acoustic Metal' sound perfectly. Indeed, the opening trio of the rocking 'Sugarcoat My World', the spiky, dark 'Thirteen Candles' and the less restrained 'Only Skin Deep' reveal a band with a distinctly original vibe and fresh-sounding songs. It's also immediately clear that Kicking Harold 2002 is a different beast than the original, whilst also sounding different from Tim David Kelly's recent solo effort. 'Space Age Breakdown' seems a definite progression from 'Growing Up Naked', with a heavier edge to the sound, yet Kelly's sense of melody envelopes every song completely. Take 'Happy In The Sun' for example. With a snappy riff and irresistible chorus, this is perhaps the album's most commercial sounding tune, reflecting on the death of a close friend and the simple legacy he left behind. 'Marigold' is another highlight, and by now the band's formula becomes more apparent – another great riff, another immediate melody line and another great contemporary rock song that could easily make a major impression on a stale rock scene filled with homogenous new artists and bands. 'Selfish' (the only song not written by Kelly), 'The End Is Coming' and 'Yeah! Whatever' impressively complete Kicking Harold's catalogue of superb rockers, but two slower paced songs are given centre stage before then. Firstly, 'Alien' is a thought provoking acoustic-based song investigating the concept of 'the other', whilst 'To Shine' is possibly the album's highlight. In the same way as 'Track Twelve', or 'She Breaks Down' from Kelly's Growing Up Naked, it showcases the delicate side of his song writing quite brilliantly.

In Summary
With impeccable production, some real contemporary sonic touches, great playing and outstanding song writing, I can't recommend 'Space Age Breakdown' highly enough. Quite simply, there's no reason why Kicking Harold should not be challenging the likes of Puddle Of Mudd or Staind, and surely it won't be long before the majors once again start sniffing round this band.

URL: www.kickingharold.com

Track Listing:
01 Gasoline
02 Marigold
03 Cranberry
04 Sugarcoat My World
05 The End Is Coming
06 Happy In The Sun
07 Selfish
08 Alien
09 As Angels Fall
10 Only Skin Deep
11 Thirteen Candles
12 To Shine
13 Yeah! Whatever

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