KIDS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – London/Island Records

by | May 19, 2017 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

KIDS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – London/Island Records (1995)/MVD Audio stereo vinyl, 41:07 (4/7/2017)****:

Special vinyl re-issue of a landmark 1995 is quirky, yet powerful.

(Featuring music from Folk Implosion/ Lou Barlow; John Davis; Bob Fay and Mark Perretta; Daniel Johnston; Slint; Lo-Down and Sebadoh)

MVD Records has released a re-mastered vinyl of the soundtrack to the 1995 movie, Kids. The film, written by Harmony Korine and directed by Larry Clark (Bully) was a harrowing, cautionary tale of sexual and drug-related hedonism, set in New York in the mid-1990’s. At the time, the four stars (Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloe Sevigny and Rosario Dawson) had not acted in a film. The film was critically acclaimed for its unflinching examination of the lives and casual approaches to the pitfalls of growing up. The film score was composed by Lou Barlow and John Davis of Folk Implosion fame. At the time, their style of music was referred to as lo-fi or alt-rock.

This special edition release features a limited number of color vinyl discs (red, blue green or yellow), and should become a collector’s item (after the color discs are done, it will be black vinyl). Side One is noteworthy for its prolific numbers…eight tracks! Two of the tracks (“Casper” and “Casper The Friendly Ghost”) are performed by  Daniel Johnston. The first Casper (one of the main film characters), is a folk arrangement with lyrics that express the disconnected mindset of its subject. The second Casper is different with a island-type groove and what sounds like a melodica. The line “Everybody respects the dead” is chilling. A healthy portion of the music is from Folk Implosion (Barlow’s group). The soundtrack highlight may be the synth rock-infused “Natural One”. It combines droning, hypnotic grooves and weird sonic elements that shape this collection, but combine them in a textured arrangement with a finger-snapping bass line. “Natural One” was released as a single with modest success.

Folk Implosion offer a variety of musical interpretations. “Daddy Never Understood” has a tough, guitar-distorted vibe with some screaming vocals. On “Nothing Gonna Stop”, there are special voice effects in a mesmeric landscape that is cinematic. Other pieces evoke atmospheric interludes. “Simean Groove” is menacing with animal howling and drums/percussion effect-driven licks. “Jenny’s Theme” is an instrumental that brings a jagged electric guitar into a dreamlike reverie that feels almost romantic in a film that emphasizes cynicism. The final track on Side A is surprisingly accessible, an organic folk song by another Barlow offshoot band, Sebadoh. Strings (or synth strings) add a nimble counterpoint to this piece.

Side Two continues the quirky emotional flow that defines Kids. Folk Implosion contributes three performances, each quite different. “Crash”, a head-shaking instrumental approximates alt-rock psychedelia, while “Wet Stuff” utilizes a simple piano, electronic percussion and studio-altered vocals in a bona fide mid 90’s jam. Lo-Down scores on a hip-hop number, “Mad Fright Night” that was part of a crucial party scene. The finale (“Good Morning Captain”) is an interesting song by Slint. It possesses the prevalent monolithic grooves of the soundtrack, but does so with atonal flair. The talking vocal is beatnik hipster-worthy.

Kids is a compelling assortment of musical interpretations.


Side One: 
Daddy Never Understood
Nothing Gonna Stop
Jenny’s Theme
Simean Groove
Casper The Friendly Ghost
Natural One

Side Two: 
Wet Stuff
Mad Fright Night
Raise The Bells
Good Morning Captain

—Robbie Gerson

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