Kid Tested. Lost on Purpose.
Don’t Sweat It Records, 2012. Kid Tested: https://www.facebook.com/kidtestedband
I was desirous of some music that makes a holy racket when the editor suggested that I review this CD. I was not aware of Kid Tested before this, but they have apparently been around for a decade with this release their second album. A punk/post-punk trio from Cleveland, their music evokes considerable power. With influences from ranging from Sebadoh to Nirvana to classic punk groups, the band’s sound varies with each song; at times it is crisp and clear, other times sludge-filled and fuzzy. Most of the songs are quite successful, with raucous instrumentation and interesting lyrics (thank you, band, for including the lyrics with the CD). I tried playing the music on higher-end equipment, and frankly, it sounds better on my laptop. Perhaps this was intended.
The opening track is aptly named. “#1 Hit” is an excellent song in a punk frame of mind, with a distinct melody that endures in the mind. Other songs in the same vein include “If You Want,” and “Don’t Sweat It.” To a lesser extent, “Accelerate” is similar, although it also contains a quiet passage and some delicate guitar work. Other songs fall more into the post-punk or grunge style. “This is a Joke” seems inspired by Nirvana (to these rather elderly ears). “Hüsker Don’t” is a fine rhythmically complex instrumental. A couple of slower tunes one might call ballads (actually midtempo) appear towards the middle of the album, including “Drama Queen” (sounding a bit like Dan Miraldi for some odd reason), “Promises,” which shows off some very nice guitar work, and the closer, “Balancing.”
Only two songs are longer than three minutes and they are the most complex musically. “What’s That” is to my mind their finest, combining complex changes of rhythm and mood, altered vocals, and other effects, while “Drowning or Torture,” includes both a lovely guitar solo and fine vocal harmonies. Vocals are generally pretty good, at least for this style of music. Mr. Mishak and Mr. Ricciardi would be less successful in the singer-songwriter category where pretty voices count, but here they sound right.
I must say that I don’t care for the modernist artwork that adorns the CD, but others might find it appealing. Overall this is an enjoyable album, and I recommend it highly to those whose musical tastes tend towards punk, post-punk, and grunge. Please continue the pandemonium.
Personnel: Shawn Mishak (vocals, Rhodes, keyboard, guitar), Dominic Ricciardi (vocals, keyboard, bass), Dan Garrity (drums), with some other help. All songs by Kid Tested; music and lyrics by Shawn Mishak.
Tracks: #1 Hit, If You Want, Accelerate, This is a Joke, Hüsker Don’t, Drama Queen, What’s That, Promises, Don’t Sweat It, Drowning or Torture, Balancing.