Review by: Gimpleg
Common Sense Kid – A for Effort, E for Attainment
The music on the synth starts creepin up, haunting. Closing my eyes it sounds like a movie theatre- the screen is black, almost as if I am in space, a melodica is added for additional texture, and it feels…eerie- like a new theme for a remake of the Nightmare before Christmas or the Addams family. Not horror, but definitely uneasy and supernatural. Add in the guitar, bass, drums, and additional layers. Then we get the verses- rapped verses, and the feeling was right, this is “Monsters” the first track of Common Sense Kid’s debut album. Punk, ska, drum and bass, techno, dubstep all fused and blended into the manifestation of Common Sense Kid’s imagination made real. This track delves into anxiety and nightmares with devilish tones and a persistent beat and rhythm and if this is the shape of what’s to come, I’m on board.
The second track tells us that the first track was no mistake, as this is where CSK placed the lone single that released prior to the album, with “Blinded by a Black Hole”. This song changes mood and tempo completely from the first track, letting us know that Common Sense Kid is not going to be pigeon-holed to a single sound. This track begins with a simple drum and piano beat that drops into a drum n bass beat that blasts through most of the song, settling into a slightly slower rhythm layered over a ska guitar rhythm over the verses. This song really highlights the full mastery of genres as the track constantly shifts in tempo and seamlessly mixes everything building tempo and tension while also narrating excellent vocals and telling the story of escaping a toxic relationship. I get more impressed every time I listen to the song.
From here he moves into a more guitar heavy song, showing that he can do more traditional music just as easily as the electronic, dubstep, and drum n bass although elements of these are still present. He doesn’t attempt to reinvent his sound in every song, these tracks definitely belong together, he does a great job of highlighting different aspects of different genres while still maintaining elements of everything in each song. “Here For The Long Haul” is a love song, and is the first track on the album where the vocals make you want to sing along. The chorus is a little catchier and repeated a little more, with a simpler melody, and it gets you moving a little differently.
While the songs to this point have been pretty serious in tone, the next track is a little different. It deals with a serious issue, but handles it in a tongue and cheek tone while the track is by far the most ska punk song on the album. Here the song discusses the British version of gentrification, where wealthy, big city folks buy up rural property, running up the prices and property values, and pricing the local population from their homes, all while complaining about the local population. It’s an effective method, and before long I am singing along even after the track is done playing.
The album contains a few more serious tracks, it travels back and forth through these genres, blending them seamlessly, almost creating a new subgenre, and includes a cover of the Gorillaz “Tomorrow Comes Today” that highlights Common Sense Kid’s style and uniqueness while staying pretty close to the original. With topics ranging from social and political issues, to songs that stem from jokes, to love songs, and personal tracks dealing with emotional struggles and mental health, Common Sense Kid has shown that he can do it all, both topically and stylistically, and he is not just dabbling in everything, he is mastering everything he does.