A Loss For Words – The Kids Can’t Lose
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Some of the worst tornadoes come out of the blue. Literally. Calm, blue skies are overtaken by death-bringing whirlwinds with little to no warning. It’s these times when schoolchildren find out what happens when you fly over the swing set: sobering death. Farmers haplessly tilling their fields find no magical baseball fields. Instead they are catapulted to the Great Big Baseball Field in the Sky. These moments of misplaced ignorance, while excessively morbid, are perfectly parallel to the sort of mind games A Loss For Words create on their debut full-length The Kids Can’t Lose. Despite fast, summery tempos and wailing choruses, AL4W sneak in some of the most depressing lyrics this side of It Won't Snow Where You're Going. Apparently, Matty Arsenault has been wronged. Not enough to change any of his band’s musical tendencies, but just enough to beat us over the head with lines like, “How the tables turn / You’re the cause of this cancer.” Oof.
The Kids Can’t Lose would be enjoyable without its overly trite lyrics, right? Well hold on there, sport. (I’m good with nicknames!) Following the all too familiar path of pop(ular)-punk, AL4W don’t do a single, solitary, minuscule thing creative or different on this album. It’s even more derivative than my sad life. And that’s saying something! As the feedback clears on opener “Stamp Of Approval,” although “Stamp” may be interchanged at will with each of The Kids Can’t Lose’s 11 songs, we hear lyrics about everyone’s favorite state (California, duh!) and a bridge with some screaming that leads into a “Holy Crap that’s predictable!” climax. Let’s put it this way, in terms of redundancy, the song is two minutes longer than necessary. This moves into “40 Thieves,” named for the 40 riffs they stole from Set Your Goals. (Ed. Note: Oh snap! Can you say that? Shouldn't I, the venerable editor, know the rules for this sort of thing?)
And then there are 9 more songs. Oh wait, there is black sheep “Mt. Saint Joseph,” an acoustic ballad used to, I guess, break up the album. Here we get a direct injection of Arsenault’s angst and I find myself longing for the energetic guitars of Marc Dangora and (awesomely named) Nevada Smith. As I said, they are a fairly interesting buffer between my ears and the broken heart mantras of Arsenault (see: “It was too damn hard to watch / As heaven and hell held you down like anchors / And your demons finally lulled you back to sleep.”) The slow, stagnant nature of this song just plain hurts.
Just so you understand my accreditation: I have a full, grisly beard. Wasn’t this genre created just for me? If I can’t even enjoy the gang vocals or inspirational(?) nature of these songs, who can? (Don’t answer that, a**holes.) Sorry, A Loss For Words, The Kids Can't Lose is completely underwhelming.
(Sorta) Recommended If You Like: Set Your Goals, Man Overboard, being a grump, Four Year Strong, Senile Old Men, lots of other bands
These guys were really cool when they come through and they put on an energetic live show. However, I expected a lot more from this record. It seemed a bit safe for them and I didn't like how it was marketed toward a high school audience.
at least your honest, and kind of funny, although I can't believe you liked the NSN ep 2 times better than this. imo AL4W put out a pretty solid album, might not be your cup of tea, but no need to rip on it so much.