The Cool Kids

Here we have 2 teenagers from Chicago rocking fly gold chains and cheap NWA type sports hats, who assume a pastiche of a bygone era of 80's hip hop so brazenly that you'll question why you love it so much, but love it you will. Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish give us their debut release The Bake Sale EP, a ten track collection of stripped down, minimal beats that form the sturdy foundation for their well crafted rhymes that cover girls, bikes and breakfast cereal and all that lies in between. The english language is expertly broken down into a series of syllables that are piled on top of one another like kids building blocks. The simplicity of their delivery and subject matter disguise their complex arrangements forcing multiple plays and before you know it this EP will be under your skin.

Opener What Up Man opts for the spoken beat with rhythm being formed of the words tick, tick, clap, tick, tick, bass. It's like a DIY, Ikea flat-pack song that unfolds and dazzles with its blatant simplicity. Lead single 88 taps the retro vein with shameless confidence as does Gold And A Pager which takes its lead lyric from Ice Cubes NWA line "Fuckin' with me cause I'm a teenager, with a little bit of gold and a pager." With the deep clap beats this tune is methodical and clinical in its delivery but while assuming this plodding pace you can really take your time to marvel at the complexity of this groups writing. Bassment Party takes its influence from a Miami Bass rhythm and picks up the pace perfectly but still refrains from over complicating things.

"We're the new black version of the Beastie Boys," claim this band and that group's album Paul's Boutique is certainly brought to mind here. This ain't rocket science, it's clever, but humble about it - which makes for a dazzlingly simple album that while nodding blatantly to the past comes across as effortlessly now. Hip hop bands that take their influence from the old school tread a perilous road that soon runs out of steam. We all love the old school but it evolved for a reason and the Cool Kids inject enough of their own contemporary ideas into their sound to separate their fate from the likes of Jurassic 5. The Bake Sale is a refreshing debut indeed and one that will surely be on this reviewer's top 5 list come Christmas.