This review is for a split release, therefore "Have Fun, High-Five and Stuff" will be a split review. For the first half: Sledding with Tigers!
SWT is nothing if not prolific. The great part about finding them so early on is having the chance to really see them evolve. When I first heard SWT, I was reminded me of a talented young man striving to get his punk images of his own life out on an acoustic guitar. But now, they've become more than that.
What we find now is much more reigned in acoustic guitar sound playing rhythmically and melodiously with a voice that has grown stronger and more sure of itself. Additionally, we hear the return of, and more prevalence of, violin, the inclusion of a banjo, and some nice texturing with an ambient electric guitar. The instrumentation is well balanced and well played, simple without being easy. It could be said these tunes are less punk and moving in a bluegrassy direction, easily seen on "Southbound!!! Northbound!!! Partybound!!! Dead", which also sneaks in some Charlie Brown-type whimsy.
The main stand out here is "Pizza Party! 1, 2, 3!!!". Here is a song that says, "we're growing up, and we're not 100% sure we're ready for that". The emotions of day to day life and the overwhelming feeling which can be felt is conveyed in such a way it becomes easy to remember being twenty-something all over again. With "They Sure Are Going All Out For Labor Day This Year, Aren't They?" we see a return to the poppier/punkier style we've come to know from SWT and it's reassuring to know, yeah, they still got "it".
Part 2 of this review is, conversely, for a band I'd never heard before. Rumor has it these two bands are close and play quite a bit together. It's easy to see why when listening to the "second side" of this split.
With a full band (guitare, keys, drums, bass), KIDS has a slightly different sound, a mixture of mid-90's meets mid-50's feel. Dual (but not dueling) singers makes for a nice change of pace from song to song. The male and female vocal intertwine in a nice echo of each other that isn't simply call and response, but a conversation between two good singers. This is especially obvious on the cover, "Do you wanna dance?", which is really a re-interpretation of the song than a cover, strictly speaking.
With straightforward lyrics, KIDS seems to be striving to have a good night out. The songs are upbeat and the toil of the day-to-day is left behind. Songs such as "Monkeys" really pull out this feeling subtly whereas the final track, "Where have all the dancers gone?" Really point out that no one wants the party to end.
Where to find them:
This album is pay as much as you want, but that's all the more reason to pay $10 or so. Support independent music!