We’re currently in a musical period where bands tend to reinvent themselves into a more brash, heavier, thrash embracing version of their previous selves. Germany’s Kid Dad, however, appear to have taken a different approach; releasing on a more stripped and nuanced sound for their latest EP, ‘Bloom’, the Paderborn quartet have leant into their softer side.
Where much of their debut album, 2020’s ‘In A Box’, was chocked full of punchy distortion and big choruses, ‘Bloom’ channels two years of frustration where society has essentially shat the bed and everything has gone wrong. While writing an EP based around themes of social discontent and politics is a step away from their usual self-reflective prose, there’s still a high level of poetry that resonates within each track.
Opening with ‘Apartment’, you’re immediately hit with their instrumental change – fuzzy guitars are replaced with lo-fi artpop strings and upbeat melodies. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll notice the brightness is covering a darker tone; with lyrics reflecting loss, “This is the worst I’ve ever felt” plays as a repeated theme, mirroring how life changes aren’t always the easiest things to deal with and, rightly, restoring those changes isn’t always the correct move. Layers upon layers.
Following up with ‘As Soon As America’, this is really the first indication that Kid Dad have changed their lyrical themes, focusing on wider issues. A poetically scathing takedown of the powerhouse that is The United States Of America, the chorus of “I don’t want to be dead as soon as America” along with the verses point to the demise of a country that’s taken some questionable decisions – a point that feels worryingly appropriate as a British reviewer.
‘Wire & Guns’ returns to their tried and tested formula, a punchy rhythm section and fuzz laden chorus are the highlights of this track. A quicker pace and near constant vocal harmonies make the song pop and act as a tastebreaker from the slightly slower tracks before it. While still including a delicate melody in the verses, it really is a combination of both their newer and older sounds.
‘Boat’ follows suit, a slow build that germinates into a soaring chorus and intricate harmonies. Touching on the freedom of self, vocalist Marius Vieth admits that even if he’s nothing, he’s still free – a feeling that doesn’t apply to everyone. Brooding and darker in tone, it feels borderline claustrophobic until the cloud breaks and the chorus sets in.
Closing track ‘Hello?’ plays with a delicate melody that would work as nicely as an instrumental as it does with lyrics, although the whispered vocals really are captivatingly haunting. A heavy bass line with wandering guitars, it’s a slower close that really stamps the change in their sound. Bubbles of synth alleviate any darkness yet still provides a sinking feeling, as if enacting the sensation of drowning.
This is an EP that shows both the lyrical and instrumental development of Kid Dad. It might seem to live within an indie-rock ouvre, but it’s far more dexterous and layered than that. Each track has its own subtle sound and its own identity, brightly lit and colourful in its own way. If Kid Dad continue to follow the path they’re on with ‘Bloom’, their limits know no bounds.