sound the sirens
Got a Miami Vice or Magnum P.I. fetish? Auckland's Kids of 88 sure do. Their synth-heavy electro dance single 'My House' is littered with sounds inspired by eighties police dramas (sirens and all). If hook-filled pop songs drive you gaga, steer clear! This is music catchier than chickenpox in a primary-school playground. Tiffany Pilcher writes.
As their name may suggest, the duo behind Kids of 88, Sam McCarthy and Jordan Arts, was born in 1988. You'd be forgiven for thinking they were older after hearing them talk. They're a nostalgic duo, citing memories of when they "wrote letters to people, and your primary school was excited because 'we've just fund-raised enough money for a computer!'"
"We're quite a retrospective and nostalgic generation," they explain, adding that this sentimentality filters into their music. Inspired by bubblegum pop, late eighties and early nineties British dance music, and "gritty spit-in-your-face rock music", the result is hard to define.
McCarthy is happy with this conclusion. "I like walking that tightrope, rather than being really direct and ending up boxed in," he tells Oyster.
Releasing their first hit single 'My House' via a neglected myspace page, the boys maintain that their jump onto the charts came as a complete surprise. While they may have recorded the song for friends and family, it was being played on the radio and television before they'd even played a live show, or thought about a video clip.
Their debut album is due for release in August, and since completing it, both McCarthy and Arts explain that they're bursting to show off their live set. "You sit inside this dark place and flick on a lamp and have dirty, cheap red wine to write songs," he explains, "and then after a while that starts to lose romance and you have to look for something else."
That something else is performing live, an area they're quickly gaining experience in, after touring Australia-wide with Cassette Kids, and triple j Unearthed High 2009 winners, Howl.
They're heading to New York to try their luck, they'll soon be touring in NZ with Passion Pit, and they've just produced official remixes for Cobra Starship and K$sha, but the boys are not getting caught up in the hype.
"We don't want to lose control and have it all turn to crap," McCarthy tells us. "Being in this tornado flying and flailing about, you get excited, but is it worth it if you are then thrown into somebody's paddock at the end of the storm?"
Whirlwind rise to fame aside, Kids of 88 seem pretty grounded to us.