I know I go on a bit about The Boo Radleys, those underrated and misunderstood red headed step children of Brit Pop. Perhaps my fondness is due to the fact that I almost always root for the underdog; or maybe it’s because this band was just so damn good. Maybe it’s a bit of both, now that I think about it. I don’t want to talk about Giant Steps as I’ve covered that subject one too many times here. Ditto Wake Up, the poppier twin to GS. No, the album I want to (briefly, I promise!) talk about is C’Mon Kids, their 5th album. No other record in their discography polarizes the fan base more than this one. Coming hot on the heels of the HUGELY successful Wake Up, C’Mon Kids was a splash of cold water in the face to the newly converted, but a backwards step in the right direction for folks that got on the bandwagon a little earlier. Upon it’s release in 1996 the album was derided for it’s aggressiveness/abrasiveness, and discarded due to the lack of a hit single to match the overplayed (and, if I’m honest, quite silly) Wake Up Boo! Their fans left in droves, the band soldiered on for another couple of years (releasing the very good swansong Kingsize) then left via stage right without much fanfare. In revisiting the remastered double disk set of C’Mon Kids I have come to the conclusion that the Boo’s were the best band to come of age in the 1990’s. To these 40’ish ears the album doesn’t sound abrasive, or chaotic, or a deliberate attempt at sabotage by their leader Martin Carr; it sounds like a band getting reacquainted with their experimental side, something they almost perfected on Giant Steps. It’s more aggressive and more direct than anything else they’d done or would go on to do. I think I speak for most Boo Radleys fans when I say that the reason we are so devoted to preserving their musical legacy is because they were so fearlessly creative in the studio. C’Mon Kids takes a few listens to get into, but don’t all great (truly great) albums?
It’s also evident by the fact that their B-sides and remixes are equal to anything they put out on the ‘proper’ albums. As a matter of fact, the B-sides disk on this remaster might even be better, and flow better, than the actual album. Yes, they’re that good.
The Boo Radleys music has been described by some critics as “The Beatles had they survived into the 90’s”. Pretty spot-on, I’d say.
Do yourself a favor, succumb to my endless badgering, and buy Giant Steps, C’Mon Kids, Wake Up and Kingsize immediately. In that order. When the world recognizes the brilliance of this band I’ll stop posting about them. Until then…