Scary Kids Scaring Kids
No one can accuse Gilbert's Scary Kids Scaring Kids of lacking ambition. The local sextet's self-titled second album is an epic song cycle characterized by the album-opening anthem "Degenerates," which casts us into a jackbooted future, judging from all the clicks of pistol safeties and ominous helicopter hovering. The song sets up an album-long theme of conformity versus individuality during which they go a little heavy on the drama ("Taking a life's worth of cigarette burns/This is our fight for freedom"). But cable-movie level melodrama aside, SK2 has created a compelling album with texture and dynamics. They straddle the splintering factions of emo and create some of their own, segueing from punchy punk-pop (album highlight "Faces"), to proggy breakdowns and arpeggios ("A Pistol to My Temple"), to atmospheric modern rock ("Set Sail") to enjoyably anachronistic glam-inflected metal ("Snake Devil"). Fortunately, from the production to the playing, everything's executed and put together so well that it sounds like an album instead of a genre-hopping clusterfuck. Not that the album wouldn't be stronger if they dialed back the overheated rhetoric and 86'd piano-ballad treacle like "Watch Me Bleed," but there's so much heart and creativity at play you'll forgive those smaller sins.
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