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.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.