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The Acro-brats: Kicking and Screaming

Dan McClenaghan By

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Of course, this is the opinion of an old guy...

My first impression on an initial listen of Kicking and Screaming was: These guys have checked out an Elvis Costello album or two. The opener, "Payback", has that retributive bitterness of Costello's most biting early work. It also has the drive and energy. And when "No Action", off of the Declan-man's second album (if my memory serves me well—a dicey supposition these days) shows up, the influence is confirmed.

Not to say the Acrobratics are totally beholden to late seventies punk; that they are a one trick pony. They have fashioned a sound of their own here: "Crash and Burn" is quite catchy: nice melody, crisp guitar work, hard-driving rhythm—good old Rock and Roll music, punkish in tone, with a new millennium muscle to it.

"Life of the Party" burns with youthful angst, channeled nicely into an "Allison" atmosphere, up-tempo mode. And "Understudy", could be a radio hit, if radio programmers would get their heads out...

And speaking of radio, I'd love to hear these guys take a shot at Costellos' "Radio, Radio".

A talented trio with a bright future, if they can navigate the music business mine fields. Be nice to see them work up a couple of ballads on their next CD— Kicking and Screaming is definitely high octane, running the RPM needle into the red zone most of the way. And they underutilize one of their strengths—vocal harmonies. I'll be damned if I didn't hear shades of the Everly Brothers, caffeinated, with a beefed up backing, on "Wish I Never Asked".

Impressive debut. A lot of talent there; a lot of energy. A lot of good, hard driving, gutsy music.

Web site: www.theacrobrats.com

Title: Kicking and Screaming | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Susspool Records


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