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Kix - 1983 Cool Kids



ARTIST: Kix
ALBUM: Cool Kids
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80056-1 (LP), 7 80056-2 (CD)
YEAR: 1983

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Whiteman - vocals * Brian Forsythe - guitars * Brad Divens - guitars, vocals * Donnie Purnell - bass, vocals * Jimmy Chalfant - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Burning Love * 02 Cool Kids * 03 Love Pollution * 04 Body Talk * 05 Loco-Emotion * 06 Mighty Mouth * 07 Nice On Ice * 08 Get Your Monkeys Out * 09 For Shame * 10 Restless Blood

WEBLINKS: www.kix-band.com


Background
The 1982-83 period saw the American hard-rock band Kix take stock and prepare for album number two. Their debut album for Atlantic demonstrated that this band had a lot of raw energy and promise of better things to come. The label had other things in mind: the record charts for one was a place they wanted the band to reside, though to be fair, at this early stage of their career, it was like trying to soften up a piece of gristle. Why Atlantic persisted with this approach is unsure to me, however the end result 'Cool Kids' would go down in history as being only a 'fair' album by comparison to the rest of their output: the whole thing coming off like a 'pop-rock' sounding album, rather than the raucous AC/DC styled gallivanting they were better known for. Due to health problems, original rhythm guitarist Ronnie Younkins couldn't make it into the studio for this album. He was replaced in the short-term by resident Baltimore guitarist Brad Divens (Wrathchild, Souls At Zero). Younkins returned not long after though, to resume his slot.


The Songs
The album features a number of outside writing contributions (definitely a tell-tale sign that the label is interfering here..). The opener 'Burning Love' was written by the Spider pair of Amanda Blue and Holly Knight. The title track 'Cool Kids' was originally a co-write between Franne Golde, Peter McIan (Men At Work) and Billy Steele, all three appearing on Franne's 'Restless' album from 1980, where this song was first heard. Elsewhere we've got the Nick Gilder and Jamie Herndon penned 'Body Talk'. These songs are OK, but they certainly show Kix in a different light. For me, I prefer their more raucous sound, as evidenced by their own material, Primarily written by Donnie Purnell. Tracks like 'Loco-Emotion' and the aural blast that is 'Get Your Monkeys Out' bring back the merest hint that Kix were/are a hard rock band, despite the overall feel on this album being slightly less. According to online sources, this was the Kix album that their label Atlantic wanted, a more 'commercial' album. The band then spent the rest of 1983 promoting it. The singles from this album include, 'Cool Kids', 'Loco-Emotion' and the aforementioned Nick Gilder penned 'Body Talk'. Ironically, Kix were one of the bands at the forefront of the MTV revolution, but in reality, the TV Channel didn't really take much notice of them until 1988's 'Blow My Fuse'.


In Summary
Probably the bands best efforts were yet to come, in the form of 'Midnight Dynamite' and 'Blow My Fuse', the latter featuring a #11 single on the Billboard Charts in the shape of 'Don't Close Your Eyes'. So, if rollickin' hard rock in the form of Helix and AC/DC rattles your dags, then spending a few bucks getting acquainted with one of Baltimore's best rock institutions (other than the mighty Face Dancer), is a few bucks well spent I say.


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Comments
#1 | Nick C on August 21 2008 12:11:18
Now I have a real soft spot for this album. I nearly fell over when the guy I knew from HMV pulled out from behind the counter the latest imports....ZZ Top - Eliminator, Night Ranger - Midnight Madness and this...I saw KIX in big old letters and was over joyed having grooved to their 1st album pretty much non stop for a couple of years. I thought they were maybe one album wonders (before the internet and easy access to what yer fave bands are up to) and nearly jumped at the guy, so I ended up buying the ZZ Top and Night Ranger later....there was only one album I wanted, so he passe on his staff discount and I grabbed it in my mucky paws and left.
Now I know the band are a little down on this album...with the record company trying to steer them to poppier territory, but it's still great. Side 1 is definitely the poppier side full of keyboards and funky sort of bits but listen and there's still some great riffs there. Side 2 is more of what Kix is about though with the more stripped down rockin sound coming through.
I think if you like Kix you have to get this album - just treat side 1 as a more fun pop rock approach and side 2 as the nasty side haha!
I headbanged to this release all the way through at Rock World (or Jilly's as it was then known) in Mnachester early doors. My mate put side 1 on and then flipped it for side 2....bastid! Iwas dying of thirst by the time it had finished...but then he played Space Station No. 5 (Montrose) and you just don't desert the dance floor when that song is on hahahahaha!
Seriously a good (or great if your me) album a little away from the Kix sound that the other albums display but still a very worthy pick up.
 
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