It is everything indie should be in our twittered-up Spotified age.
Daryl Easlea 2009
A collection of songs about ''ex, current, future and fictional girlfriends'', Kicks is the three-piece Glasgow band's follow-up to 2007's debut Cookies. Sharing similar origins to Franz Ferdinand, the comparisons between them are lazy, but also shatteringly obvious. There must have been something very arty in the water at that time.
Sharing vocal duties, Jackie McKeown, Dino Bardot and Michael McGaughrin create sweetness on top of all their choppy angularity. Produced by Bernard Butler, Kicks is much smarter than the potpourri of influences from which it derives. Butler is no stranger to crafting exquisite, hook-laden tunes - just hear his work with David McAlmont and Duffy, and it is here in frothy spades. 30 minutes in their company, no matter how superficial it may be, you feel dizzied, exhilarated, even.
59 – a song about a bus trip from a Glasgow suburb to Narnia and Brigadoon – is terrific. It has a refrain that you're sure you've heard somewhere, and could broadly be described as stupid, dreamy pop. They are frequently hilarious, especially on I Don't Even Know What That Is, the tale of a proposition made to Bardot at a San Francisco party. Kickstrasse, a skewiff refrain to Baader-Meinhof, and the album's sort-of title track, is clever, bright but not smug.
Kicks is one of the best examples of the musical post-modern patchwork so prevalent in 2009. And they have remembered to pack the tunes, the eccentricity and the wit. A shiny, glossy, hoot, it is everything indie should be in our twittered-up Spotified age.