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Partie Traumatic

Black Kids

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Despite a somewhat misleading moniker (the only black kids in Black Kids are siblings Ali and Reggie Youngblood), this debut delivers on its title with tunes so fun and danceable that the "party 'til you puke" cliché could be a prophecy if these songs fuel the soundtrack to an all-nighter. The Jacksonville, Florida quintet was championed by hipster tastemakers Vice magazine and Pitchfork Media after they uploaded the 2006 EP Wizard of Ahhhs to their MySpace page. Subsequently, Black Kids became the darlings of 2007's CMJ Music Marathon. They made the buzz work for them, landing a deal with Almost Gold Recordings and getting former Suede guitar player Bernard Butler to produce and play on Partie Traumatic. The album overflows with fizzing, bubbly, neo-new wave dance-pop, sometimes leaning on bits of '70s glam (the title track sounds inspired by Roxie Music's "Love Is The Drug"), endearing indie twee-pop ("Listen To Your Body Tonight" leans hard on Moog keyboards), and late '80s goth pop ("I'm Making Eyes At You" recalls The Cure's "Lullaby"). The anthemic Go! Team inspired "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" is even better than its awesome title.

Customer Reviews


Four of these ten songs come from the Wizard of Ahhhs EP, which I quite liked, but...well, that's one part of the problem, that many people will already have almost half of the album, and these fans will now need to pay for material that the band once released online for free. Spending money on these four tracks wouldn't be as big of an issue for me if Black Kids hadn't remade them into vastly inferior versions of themselves and then removed the original takes from their website, perhaps never to return officially. The main thing that destroys these songs is the shift from a lo-fi recording quality that layered their sounds in a way that hid some weaknesses (many clunky lyrics), while elevating others (Reggie Youngblood's high, thin voice) by supporting them in the blurred tones of the surrounding instruments. These overlapping noises shared space equally and, as a result, created a communal energy that was genuinely infectious and effectively propelled great melodies. Partie Traumatic's editions of these tracks sometimes try to replicate the buzz of lo-fi quality, as in the opening guitar line of Hurricane Jane, but it's never long before the band hands us overblown production that destroys the cohesive sound of the group. It does this first by isolating and amplifying each individual element in the songs, (which, for one, just emphasizes how blandly robotic Youngblood sounds stretching his voice, especially when he overenunciates throughout the once-fabulous "Hit the Heartbrakes") then by inserting unnecessary audio tricks that forsake melodic strength for attention-grabbing flourishes (I honestly can't believe how much they destroyed "Heartbrakes", adding cringeworthy buzzing to its backing vocals and the overblown use of a wah-wah pedal for the guitar). The rest of the album feels even worse - maybe because I don't have a better recordings to long for in their cases - amounting to little more than the lowest rung of new wave revival. The keyboards alternate between sounding annoyingly wobbly and annoyingly tinny, the rhythm section awkwardly lurches and pummels instead of pops and grooves, and the vocals come out with such flat force that they just sound programmed. A band that once exuded ragged charm and fun has now become a vehicle for stiff bombast and "fun".

You need this on your playlist!

This is a great album and a great band. These guys are so fresh and fun. All the songs are catchy and they make you want to dance, but don't expect me to teach you how!! LOL

Let's keep things in perspective...

...I'll be honest. Black Kids are not my favorite band, not my ultimate cup of tea, but the quality of the album is pretty solid. Listening to the album does get my head bobbing, and I do think it's a fun sound, to an extent. In fact, I appreciate that it's a slight change of pace from the repetitiveness of the junk that is today's hip-hop or pop hits. But "Partie Traumatic" is far from the "must-have" album that fans and critics alike would hype it to be. The sound is not wholly original (what sound is these days?), and I'm sorry, BK fans, but the lyrics are mediocre at best. As I've heard other folks say, if I wanted to buy music of this nature, I'd hit the original artists that pioneered the sound. That being said, I'm wishing the Black Kids the best of luck to keep themselves going (Being from Jacksonville, I love when I see bands from here succeed). I look forward to seeing what they do next!


Formed: Jacksonville, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Once again demonstrating the power of the Internet in breaking new bands, in a matter of months the Black Kids came from obscurity to become one of the most talked-about bands at the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon, all on the basis of four songs posted on the band's MySpace page and a lot of buzz among music bloggers. Hailing from Jacksonville, FL, the Black Kids consist of Reggie Youngblood on guitar and lead vocals, Ali Youngblood and Dawn Watley on keyboards and backing vocals, Owen Holmes on bass, and...
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Partie Traumatic, Black Kids
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Customer Ratings



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