How long is this going to go on? Kids get their parents’ Cure records, start a band and record an EP, blog hype and a major-label deal follow. Black Kids’ debut, Partie Traumatic, is an energetic enough pop-rock record, but it does little to justify the buzz that surrounded the band during the second half of 2007.
Of course, it’s not fair to hold buzz against a band. But it is fair to hold the self-pity and tossed-off New Wave synths of “Hurricane Jane” against Black Kids, the same as it’s fair to criticize singer/guitarist Reggie Youngblood’s Jarvis Cocker-isms on “I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again)” and his Robert Smith riffs on “Hit the Heartbrakes” and “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You.”
Partie Traumatic has its moments. When the band remembers the power part of power pop, as they do on “Look at Me (When I Rock Wichoo),” or slink toward the dancefloor, as on “I Wanna Be Your Limousine,” they easily overcome Youngblood’s affectations. The one track that feels entirely contemporary is Partie Traumatic’s best one, the humming “Listen to Your Body Tonight.” But those songs aren’t quite enough to overcome the disc’s calculated sense of appropriation over inspiration.