Cool Kids fans have been waiting three years — through two EPs and several mix tapes — for the band's debut LP, When Fish Ride Bicycles. As it turns out, it was well worth the wait. The Cool Kids have always toed the line between homage and irony regarding hip-hop's golden era; the band loves Eighties rap and openly flaunts that love, but it does so with a wink. When Fish Ride Bicycles has no shortage of all the group's usual tricks — retro beats, clever lyrics, laid-back delivery, and ridiculous sounds effects that only an Eighties rapper could love. But on their new album, The Cool Kids have upped their game for an almost dreamy, surreal effect, mixing old-school loops, new-school production, and weird layers of sounds.
The Cool Kids' early favorites were simple, throwback songs that were fun and addictive. But the sheer complexity of the music on the new album is undeniable. It retains the fun, but with much greater depth, using multi-layered samples, constantly changing loops, and well-produced beats that resemble bare-bones Eighties rap. It's clear that these are gifted, deliberate musicians, not just clever rappers. It's also clear that after thirty-plus years, there is still room for hip-hop to push new boundaries. It's only odd that such a fresh new album would come from a band that so openly revels in the music of its predecessors. (Green Label Sound)