November 05, 2018

We The Kings - Smile Kid (2009)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Pop Punk, Pop Rock
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© 2009 S-Curve Records
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey
No one expects We the Kings to break new ground; we just expect them to play familiar emo pop far better than their contemporaries. With their 2007 debut, the group followed the same path that the Academy Is and Jimmy Eat World helped construct, mixing slickly produced pop songs and bleeding-heart lyrics in equal doses. The approach may have been formulaic, but songs like “Check Yes Juliet” still packed one hell of a sugary punch, and the Kings became emo royalty as a result. Smile Kid arrives two years after that album’s release, bringing with it another batch of hooks and a polished, super-compressed sound courtesy of producers S*A*M & SLUGGO. This certainly sounds like a hit album -- it’s shiny, summery, and filled with lovelorn sentiments, all of which are crooned by frontman Travis Clark in a pleasant tenor -- but the songs lack staying power, with no track coming close to the sugary whomp of “Check Yes Juliet.” “Rain Falls Down” is almost a chord-by-chord re-creation of Jimmy Eat World’s “23,” and the songs that wear their influences more subtly still fade from memory once the album ends. Clark knows his audience and does his best to appeal to their whims -- “Let’s make champagne rain down from the sky, let’s toast to the night!” he urges during “Spin,” one of the album’s many carpe diem anthems -- but those outside of the emo circle are unlikely to pump their fists.

tags: we the kings, smile kid, 2009, flac,

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