Clean Cut Kid @ Hare and Hounds, 26 November 2018

The atmosphere was buzzing as fans crowded into the muggy room atop Hare and Hounds. Liverpool indie rock pop band Clean Cut Kid are no strangers to Birmingham stages, and yet the promise of a second album seems to fill the room with an anticipatory excitement. Delivering an electrifying show Clean Cut Kid balanced massive rock instrumentals with sweetly tinged pop lyrics, giving a hint of the tasty tracks that are soon to come. 

With distorted electro undertones and a 70s rock influence Clean Cut Kid opened the night with ‘Goodbye.’ With Mike and Evelyn sharing lyrical moments the bouncy track was not only wildly entertaining but also displays the fresh electronic pop rock sound that CCK seem to experiment with. Fan favourite ‘We Used To Be In Love,’ with its flirty rock riffs and cascading drums juxtapose the experimental sound of the previous song with a timeless nostalgic emulating reverb. The openers becoming that perfect balance of new and old, of rooted yet experimental. 

No doubt this combination of sound comes from the compilation of experience and newness. Clean Cut Kid has a great band history of creating uniquely amalgamated sound and yet a handful of band changes and an extended time in differing cities has seemed to energize CCK, infusing their sound with a new sense of life and exploration. 

New song ‘Slow’ pairs big vocals with melodic instrumentals. A song that seems to have a bit of Bowie mixed in with a dash of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, the futuristic sound is a pleasant window into what we hope will spring forth from CCK. Groovy ‘Red Green Black’ shifts the sound, its atmospheric power bringing calmness over the room. The imagery rich song binds memories to colours creating a beautiful visualization, the distorted nostalgia drifting through the room. 

Bluesy pop rock ‘Brother of Mine’ displays a tempo shifting morphing song. As electric guitar riffs intertwine with the layered vocals an overwhelming sound fills the room, pumping in the energy. Grim folky pop ‘Jason’ is followed by new single ‘Deafening.’ The swinging pop rock song is both edgy and commercial, the type of song you want to hear on the radio to break up the radios sound monotony. Anchored around the atmospheric electro keys the anthemic record flashes between rock and pop, a hint of kazoo unmistakably filtering in and out. 

Bright and cheerful pop tinged ‘Felt’ is the type of blissful escapism you long for. Bringing a smile on everyone’s face heads bopped along as the band launched into the ramping tune. Tour title track ‘Give Love,’ a call to action in the middle of the confusion of the world, found the fans clapping along. Fan favourites ‘Pick Me Up’ and ‘Vitamin C’ continued the fan dance party, the infectious energy permeating from the stage. The night ended with hit ‘Emily,’ Clean Cut Kid leaving the stage too soon. 

Clean Cut Kid is a band we will be listening to for years to come. Their ability to craft infectiously energetic and purposeful records is undeniable, a mixture of electronic and rock and pop their music is brilliantly layered creating an escapism that is unparalleled. While their set at Hare and Hounds was short it certainly fully displayed the brilliance of Clean Cut Kid’s records. Transforming the night and infusing the room with ecstatic energy Clean Cut Kid delivered an epic set at Hare and Hounds, stirring up excited anticipation for the next album. 

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

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