Review: Little Kid, “Might As Well With My Soul”

Little Kid - "Might As Well With My Soul"

Toronto’s Little Kid have created a perfect carousel of gentle, quirky, alt-rock sonic pleasures with “Might As Well With My Soul.”

At times relaxed… sometimes jarring and propulsive, elsewhere honeyed and sugary… the instrumentation melds languidly with the eloquent, sometimes quivering vocals. Songs glow, mesmerizing like a candle flame blowing in a soft breeze; you can easily get lost in dream.

This self-recorded and produced record is brimming with familiar melodies which aid in its timelessness.  Bassist Paul Vroom masterfully handled engineering/mixing/mastering duties for the group.  Production is clear, yet soft and inviting.

Everything about this record is so perfect yet, somehow seems effortless.  Far too often artists overwhelm the listening experience.  Since the development and ease of access to multi-tracking DAW programs like Protools, it’s been rare for bands to show constraint and let space between notes and instruments linger.  If Elliott Smith had somehow accompanied Black Rebel Motorcycle Club when they recorded “Howl,” it could have sounded like this.

Beginning with the simple organic sounding piano and Kenny Boothby’s evocative voice “The Only Light” gently starts the proceedings.  This segues extremely well to the laid-back drum beat and soothing harmonica of “Two Invitations.”   After these opening tracks, when you might reckon to have a handle on what Little Kid’s sound is, you get “Love Minus Seven/No Livin’.” Here, the band’s idiosyncrasies begin emerge as off-kilter guitars and oscillating synths are added to the mix. Their sound is expanded even further on my favorite tune “In The Red” which introduces some velvet covered distorted guitars, reminiscent of the Wilco’s Nils Cline or the late great Robert Quine.   The stereo dueling guitar shrieks that end the song are euphoric.

Following the first half’s increased frenzy, “A Road In My Mind” returns the listener to a softer sound.  The album’s second portion is more cohesive in sound but no less enjoyable. The tender, pensive and expressive piano-led “Receiver” is probably my second favorite track. Well… actually, I just listened to it again… maybe this is my favorite track. It’s honestly tough to pick.  The soft acoustic guitar of “Easy or Free” strums like lullaby and gently bookends the album as it began.

Songs are sequenced perfectly and should be enjoyed as a whole for the correct effect.  This is an Album, capital A.    This includes a gorgeous cover painting by Toronto artist James Chia Han Lee.  This album and artwork are so majestic, I’m really disappointed there isn’t a vinyl pressing planned yet.

A prolific band, this is Little Kid’s fifth release overall and third in as many years.  Their Bandcamp page has streaming and physical copies in CD and cassette. I highly recommend you consider taking some time to check them out.

For fans of: Built to Spill, Elliott Smith, Wilco, Lambchop

“Might As Well With My Soul” is available 24 August – order on Little Kid’s Bandcamp page.

A bit of a Renaissance man, Steve Murphy is a singer-songwriter, author, and journalist based out of London, Ontario. An avid vinyl collector and audiophile, his personal collection of albums is wide ranging and in the thousands, including four released from his band Westminster Park.

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