Sometimes the sweetest payoffs come when you’re not expecting them. While a constant, prolific run of singles leading up to a band’s debut can feel like the release you’re waiting for, the exact opposite seems to be just as true. In the case of Kids on a Crime Spree, the Bay Area band was ramping up to a debut with an untouchable EP 2011 and a smattering of follow-up singles over the next couple of years, but then the line went slack. That is until this year when the band announced a debut more than ten years in the making, bring their rock candy pop froth back to the speakers for a full ten-spot of songs. The band’s pop pummel hasn’t aged a day, but they’ve let a few new nuances into the mix. Where We Love You So Bad built its bones on girl group bob n’ sway and garage bounce, the debut is a more driving, fuzz-torn, from the hip affair.
It’s been a few years since the standup pound of drums was a prerequisite for indie bands, but Becky Barron wrangles the rhythm in throwback thrall with a paired down pound that keeps the record lean and light on its feet. In the intervening years Mario Hernandez’ songwriting has crystalized — absorbing past and present lineages of indie pop pounce into a record that fizzes to life like Mentos ’n Coke mainlined into the bloodstream and danced until shaken awake. It’s a tougher sound than the band has presented in the past, wrapping a few chains around the knuckles of their pop, but spending more time swinging them in celebration than in anger. Fall In Love Not In Line sprints through its ten tracks, hurling hooks ahead of them and smashing through the speakers in barrel roll bliss. Things can certainly skew dour these days, but if you’re in need of a thirty-minute respite from the rancor, then this is just the ticket.
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