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Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Scary Kids Scaring Kids Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 7
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 5.5
Production 9
Creativity 5
Lasting Value 6
Reviewer Tilt 6.75
Final Verdict: 68%
Member Ratings
Vocals 6.55
Musicianship 6.72
Lyrics 5.82
Production 6.99
Creativity 5.93
Lasting Value 6.22
Reviewer Tilt 6.76
Average: 64%

Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Scary Kids Scaring Kids

Reviewed by: Steve Henderson (08/27/07)
Scary Kids Scaring Kids - Scary Kids Scaring Kids
Release Date: August 28, 2007
Record Label: Immortal/RCA

Scary Kids Scaring Kids have always been one of "those" bands to me. The kind that releases an album that is mediocre at best, and in most cases far worse, yet somehow manages to garner hordes of fans in the process (yes, Amber Pacific - I am looking at you). So, despite the cred that comes with naming yourself from a Cap'n Jazz song (still a damnable offense for an act like this), SKSK seemed just boring, really. And while The City Sleeps In Flames has been a resounding success for the band, sales numbers do not repair the fact that the record was lyrically shallow, poorly produced (especially by McTernan standards), and rife with gimmicky synth. Alas, it suffices to say that a visit to the band's self-titled follow-up was going to be an interesting one, indeed.

While fence-sitters might approach this release with trepidation, a passing glance at the tracklist will do nothing to allay fears associated with the band, as the emo clichés are present (multiple references to "blood" is never good). Furthermore, as listeners spool up the self-titled effort, the done-to-death, contrived "instrumental" montage will only further that distaste. However, be that as it may, that is essentially where things start to turn around for Scary Kids, as the band is able to rebound and offer up some much more solid material thereafter.

Overall, Scary Kids Scaring Kids have taken on a noticeably different sound with their self-titled effort. The first things that will become apparent to listeners and fans are two-fold. First off, the band has taken an obvious departure from the screamo path in lieu of a more straightforward rock line. That is not to say that screams are entirely absent from the record, but instead, they are applied much more tactfully (see the rather awesome intro to “Holding On”). Secondly, the synth on Scary Kids Scaring Kids is a lot further back in the mix and a great deal less prevalent than it was on The City Sleeps In Flames. While this robs the band of a bit of their “originality,” it helps the songs sound more natural and less immature, really. In addition to this, it is also evident that SKSK has been working on the greater musical backbones of their songs. The riffs here are much stronger and more powerful, the percussion is at times entirely impressive, and put together, it all tends to just work. Of course, the downside to all of this is that originality is in short supply, with little new ground being broken, but all things considered, the end result is more favorable than past efforts.

A lot of people willing to give this a chance are going to need to be sucked in right away, and SKSK actually does quite a smooth job of doing just that. After the previously mentioned pointlessness of “Prelude,” the record hits a (surprising) early stride of five songs that are all really, really strong in the way that will even catch the most jaded off guard. From the blistering energy of “Degenerates” to the syrupy chorus of “Holding On,” the disc commences well, indeed. From there, “The Deep End” is a solid straight-up rocker with some engaging guitar harmonies that continue into “Faces” where you will have sworn you were listening to a song by The Fully Down at the intro. And sure, SKSK goes on to jock the call/response vocals of earlier AFI once more, but the track is still enjoyable for less picky consumers. And finally, while it might be closer to their older material, “A Pistol To My Temple” is still a song that begs for air guitar, air drums, and a singalong to boot. Simply put, it’s quite catchy, and would make a great single for the band.

While SKSK starts off better than anyone might have guessed, they trip, stumble, and fall drunkenly down the stairs when they hit the awkward, ultra-cheesball demi-ballad of “Star-Crossed” and the subsequent out-of-place (and equally as bad) “Derailed.” Just a note to bands – especially so-called post-hardcore bands: ballads are NOT a requisite for a record. We all know the early teen girls love them, but the rest of us just cringe.

It’s really too bad that this slump on the album’s flow is never really recovered from. What we get from there on out is a handful of forgettable and mediocre tracks, and another “what were they thinking” ballad. And be that as it may, the fact still remains that SKSK has exhibited a fair amount of progression on their sophomore LP, improving on most of the blemishes of their earlier works. Sure, some people will miss the haphazard energy of the “old stuff” as they always do, but this incarnation of the band seems much more inclined to make a splash than that younger and considerably less wise troupe ever did.


Recommended if you like: Story of the Year, The Used, The Fully Down, Letter Kills
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 51
09:39 PM on 08/27/07
#2
Blake Solomon
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first!


Edit: fantastic review, I was at the bottom, content, before I knew it. And I really want to hear the first 5 songs now. Bravo!
09:45 PM on 08/27/07
#3
Steve Henderson
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first!


Edit: fantastic review, I was at the bottom, content, before I knew it. And I really want to hear the first 5 songs now. Bravo!
Well, you are in luck!

http://www.myspace.com/scarykids

Entire thing is streaming there.
09:47 PM on 08/27/07
#4
Blake Solomon
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i abhor (good word) myspace streams, but I'll give it a shot.
10:06 PM on 08/27/07
#5
PigDestroyer
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yeah this was a really good review...as easy as it is to hate on these guys, from the songs ive heard, this is shaping up to be a decent cd
10:29 PM on 08/27/07
#6
LillieDesigns
Orange, CA
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I actually like this record a lot more than I thought I would. I also really like "Derailed." It may not be ground breaking, but there is a lot worse out there. Well-written review, I just don;t agree 100%.
11:12 PM on 08/27/07
#7
Gumbyjag
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This reminds me a great deal of the new Atreyu album review, but great nonetheless. It's always good to hear someone's opinion on an album, especially someone you trust to give you the lowdown.
03:19 AM on 08/28/07
#8
brokenwings
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i really enjoyed this a lot more than i would have thought. sksk have always been able to write some decent songs, but their last record was pretty dull for the most part. the new one however is actually a good record. i think the last few songs aren't that much weaker than the first 5, nor do i think that the ballads are too cheesy. the record also surprised me lyrically with some rather deep and honest sounding vocals.
05:50 AM on 08/28/07
#9
dubey
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I think the new album is awful and this is coming from someone who actually liked their last one. The first two tracks on the City Sleeps in Flames were amazing, it's too bad they couldn't make the whole album sound like that.
05:51 AM on 08/28/07
anamericangod
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the member ratings are brutal as hell.
06:06 AM on 08/28/07
LikeACat
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Lol at authors rating vs members rating.

They should have a rating for cover art so I could rate that poorly.

Every time I look at it I see that evil lady from Reboot.
06:08 AM on 08/28/07
Steve Henderson
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Lol at authors rating vs members rating.

They should have a rating for cover art so I could rate that poorly.

Every time I look at it I see that evil lady from Reboot.
I think the art looks like a poor combination of Anberlin's Never Take Friendship Personal and Panic at the Disco.
06:09 AM on 08/28/07
Steve Henderson
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the member ratings are brutal as hell.
Yeah, I would say those are a little extreme.
06:10 AM on 08/28/07
Steve Henderson
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I think the new album is awful and this is coming from someone who actually liked their last one. The first two tracks on the City Sleeps in Flames were amazing, it's too bad they couldn't make the whole album sound like that.
I think peoples' thoughts on the new record will be opposite of what they thought of the last album. I hated the last one, but like this one, whereas there are others that will share your view.
06:16 AM on 08/28/07
lauren<3s music
the charade is over
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Great review! I listened to it again after you recommended it the other day and I'm still not there. I agree with alot of what you said in the review though and I think that musically it's better and much more solid. I hate the drastic change in the vocals, only because I would have liked to see them use the screaming better than they did in both albums i.e. not in the cliche screamo band and not just to throw it in as an afterthought.

I hate the bullshit ballads. I hope to god they and others read you review and realize how utterly crappy they sound and how it can tear apart an otherwise decent album.

And finally I agree 100% with your comments about the cover art. I mean really haven't we all seen the god damn mask 900 times before. We should have RULES for overused bullshit like this. It makes me want to scream have some creativity, that's what art is about!
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