Simply A Good Debut_Rod Scopint-CD Review: Simple Kid’s
In 1970, Paul McCartney launched his solo career with a “home grown” debut album simply entitled McCartney. On it, McCartney became a one-man band, literally playing every instrument (albeit “aided” by his wife Linda). In a similar vein, Simple Kid released 1, his debut in 2004.
Simple Kid is the alter ego of Irish-born rocker Cieran McFeely. McFeely also operates as a one-man band, playing several instruments, and using sound loops on his computer to fill out his “band”. On 1, Kid blends crunchy Zeppelin-like power chords with Casio keyboard blips, stinging slide guitars and a country twang into an odd, eclectic set of songs that are both catchy and poignant. He has been likened to Beck, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Indeed, Kid’s voice has a Neil Young-like quality to it, although his style is broader and one can hear shades of David Bowie, and even John Lennon in his singing as well.
1 opens simply (no pun intended) with “Hello,” a single blip on a keyboard that is joined by some sly slide guitar work. Kid greets the listener with a carefree, accepting voice, “if you’re real/show how you feel/ if you’re fake/jump in a lake” It works as a good introduction to the album and to Simple Kid himself.
But the album’s gems are tracks 3 and 4, “Staring at the Sun,” and “Average Man,” both delivering quick-witted social commentary. “Staring at the Sun” talks about a down and outer who was “born in the Summer of Sam,” trying to get help from a government official who states, “I’m only trying to get elected.” “Average Man” lists the statistics of the “average” man, noting such contradictions as, “the average man on the street is not on the street.” He concludes the song by declaring, “there ain’t nothing average about me, man!”
Other standout tracks are the hypnotic “Drugs,” a commentary on the things we use to dull are minds (not just narcotics), the haunting, post-apocalyptic “Love’s an Enigma” and the Kinks flavored “Supertramps and Superstars.”
1 is not a perfect album, though it is a strong debut from an artist who seems willing to experiment with music. At 11 tracks (with a “hidden” track for those patient enough to listen all the way through the last song), it is just about the right length; listeners won’t get tired of it. Most of the tracks are enjoyable, and grow on you with each listen. With such an auspicious debut, it will be interesting to see what Simple Kid creates for album “2.”