Simple Kid: Two

[8 August 2007]

By Dan Raper

Simple Kid’s second album, conveniently titled 2, is a good example of a little record that charms despite genre limitations.  Ciaran McFeely, the Irish musician behind Simple Kid, creates pop-oriented folk music with subtle infusion of electronic elements.  It’s nothing like the experimentations of Animal Collective, at all—in fact, the swinging music recalls Beck’s textures on recent albums.  McFeely’s gentle brogue colours his otherwise ultra-pure tone, and lends it distinction—without it, his voice is so smooth it tends to sink into the musical texture behind.  For all the talk of “twentysomethings” and “my generation” the aesthetic of the album’s rather retro-oriented indie-folk: bending banjos, acoustic guitars, an occasional string section.  Even the most simple compositions charm: “Old Domestic Cat” is an acoustic waltz, undeniably sweet and fragile.  In the middle, McFeely falters and starts up again, but for a moment you’re not sure whether he’ll make it.  “Oh Heart, Don’t Be Bitter” combines a “Cecilia”-like clapping rhythm with a melody reminiscent of “Richard Corey”—Paul Simon at his most bluesy and exuberant.  The centerpiece of the album is “Serotonin”.  With a fuller texture, the extended song has the strung out, static beauty of a Blonde Redhead song.  After all this sweetness, the more rocky final two tracks seem a little out of place, though the swirling electronic effects at the end of the album provide a sparkling finale.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/simple-kid-two/