Shorter, Faster, Louder
Reviewed by Joe Lockard
Wednesday, April 12 2000, 8:47 PM
Kid Dynamite delivers exactly what their album title promises. They deliver hardcore punk at extreme speed and with all the decibels the speakers can pump. No compromises here.
This second Kid Dynamite album comes out as the group just as the group has died. Their hometown Philadelphia lost a top-class band that managed, barely, to push punk into the twenty-first century. Kid Dynamite lasted for two full-length albums and a couple tours fuelled by nitro. Coming home to Philadelphia and the south Jersey 'burbs after traveling through the world can be hard on a human.
What distinguishes Kid Dynamite is pure, massive energy in their music. It's not the sort of energy that leaves listeners with a choice: either like it or leave the room. Dan Yemin on guitar, David Wagenshutz on drums and Steve Farrell on bass generate a thrash that nearly overwhelms Jason Shevchuk's vocals. Kid Dynamite lyrics are prose poems that overwhelm dreariness with their power, that spew social revulsion. The revolting sight that needs rejection, as one song phrases it, comes from lives "bleeding the blood of conformity." There is no sense of place beyond the music, since threat emerges from places. For Kid Dynamite, a song is a safe place from which to scream:
"If I murdered millions tell me would you believe? If I called it social progress would you fucking believe in me? If I sugar-coated lies, would you believe? Like razors down your throat you swallow your pride and it eats you alive. It seems a mind of it's own gets battered down and bought out. Uh oh. Ideals lost, not found, what now? Quick to shake the hand of a suited man, with bloody hands. Uh oh. He pulls you in. This time, he wins. ['Give 'Em the Ripped One']"
'Cheap Shot Youth Anthem' is a well-played track that captures a note of irony about the idea of a 'youth anthem.' Sometimes the technique of speeding up the tempo to bursting works against the song, as in some passages of 'Living Daylights.' Several songs have a more self-reflective quality, though still phrased in blunt and brutal terms. The unadulterated anger that fills the above-quoted final song of the album would be monotonous were it stuffed into every song. That's not the case, since the lyrical anger provokes more curiosity than monotony. Perhaps it is just as well that Kid Dynamite breaks up now, while we are left with wonderment.
Shorter, Faster, Louder is a Jade Tree release