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Kicks Chris Parkin , March 31st, 2009 08:14

It would take an awful lot of gumption to suggest that the 1990s' second effort is a fierce blast of maximum, dick-swinging rock 'n' roll, just as it would to claim that there's a single mind-improving quality within. The truth, which has encouraged a lot of sneering among self-declared clever-clogs, is that Kicks is a very simple, very happy and very scrappy indie rock 'n' roll record made by three chaps who, in spite of advancing years, can probably still be found in front of the mirror at bedtime pretending to be Jonathan Richman, Loaded-era Lou Reed, Tom Verlaine or even one of those fellas from The Knack.

And what's wrong with that exactly? Sure, you could over-analyse Kicks and pull on its many loose threads until it sounds like a bare and fairly useless document of our times. But to dislike Kicks is to ignore a record, with the awful ‘Local Science' aside, that chimes with damnably groovy and super-goofy garage-pop tunes that do more for the spirit than watching that chimp ride a Segway into a bush on Youtube. It also does the 1990s a massive disservice whenever folk cry pastiche at them when it's nothing more cynical than love and concern for the health of goodtime rock 'n' roll and all its attendant mythology that Jackie, Michael and new bassist Dino are expressing.

Just like fellow Scot Bobby Gillespie, 1990s are fond of all the things that sound cool and rebellious and sleazy and fun, from sugary riffs, bouncing '70s power-pop and slinky indie soul of the Comet Gain variety (the sweet, Michael-sung ‘59'), to Baader Meinhof, nights loaded on Xanax and strange shagging, to couplets that do little more than sound brilliantly uplifting, utterly silly and defiant against the tide of confessional bullshit and naff surrealism.

They might be a bit wonkier than Primal Scream, but the 1990s are just as knowing. From the old LPs, posters, magazines and news stories of their youth, this band want to sound and look a very particular way. Seeing as this as eternally youthful, lively, fun-loving oiks, we salute them.