Ze Malibu Kids
Sound It Out
ast year Redd Kross’ Steven McDonald recorded bass parts for The White Stripes’ White Blood Cells, uploaded the record on his website, and even put himself in the picture with Jack White. That was pretty funny. Showing he can be even funnier, Steven, along with his brother Jeff (also of Redd Kross—I know, you know this) and Anna Waronker (formerly of that dog. and currently of Anna Waronker) have formed Ze Malibu Kids. Bad name? You bet. But wait, it gets worse.
To be honest, when I first heard of this power pop combo between two former greats, Redd Kross and that dog., I was excited. Redd Kross are legends, who were both known for great glamorous power pop and cheesy shite as well (the former is what I like to remember). that dog. to me, were a very under appreciated pop band who just kind of fizzled out after they released their best album (1997's Retreat To The Sun). Sound It Out should be a fantastic pop record with all of these fantastic, melody-filled creative juices flowing. It is not.
The music on Sound It Out is never consistent, travelling back and forth between mindlessly childish (that has nothing to do with the fact that their drummer seems to be an adolescent of oh, about six years old), extremely cheesy, piss-poor and quite good. Unfortunately, the latter is in the minority throughout the 14 tracks.
I can honestly count the number of good songs on two or three of my fingers on only one of my hands. The best, their single “I Won’t Forget You” sounds like it was made 35 years ago by one of Phil Spector’s girl bands. Really dreamy, set in an old-fashioned style of pop, it’s a nice throwback to a great era for music. “Maybe It’s The Wrong Time” sounds like one of Redd Kross’ good songs, which is why it is good.
The problem is that the band is trying to do too much on one record. Part of it sounds like Magnetic Fields, another is pointless noodling on synths, and they even mess up a cover of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” because they have to add all of these flashy effects that ends up sounding asinine. In fact, there are way too many asinine moments on this album. Tracks named after Fiona Apple and Shelly Fabares (who played the girlfriend of Coach on the TV show, and who was a pop star back in the 60s) and the whole idea of using “ze” as a word make this whole project annoying even. It’s too bad that single of theirs is such a good track. What a waster.
Reviewed by: Cam Lindsay
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01