From Russia With Love And Pop

Forget the burritos at Cantina--our newest addiction is the KGB. Rocking out on their self-titled CD, the five-boy band is spiked bubblegum pop at its best, spinning together threads from ska, rock and punk influences. The result is a slippery combination of old-school style and fresh musical talent. Hailing from Southern California, the band's fan base is mostly high school and college students; still, the group manages to push out a sophisticated sound that proves wise beyond their years. With the energy of teenage guys goofing off and the technical prowess of practiced musicians, the KGB's first CD is ready to rock the teeny bopper in everyone.

Something really special about the KGB sound might come from the age of the band--these boys are O80s babies; they grew up on the same music as we did, and it shows. Popping in their first CD is like tasting 32 flavors at once; you can hear everything from Fatboy Slim to Radiohead, Cracker and Ben Lee. There's even a nice O70s groove on some of the tracks, harking to our prenatal days back in the womb. All the styles melt together in sliding, sticky harmonies. The songs sound like space-age sugar and are impossible to stop singing. The Recess favorite, "Lover Undercover," is a crazy mix of barbershop quartet and mellow techno. Its lyrics are whiny and funny and just waiting to be a movie soundtrack. "Isabella" is a Latin flavored ballad that taunts unrequited love to a tame bongo beat. "The Goodbye Girl" sounds a little like Blink 182 and a little like The Partridge Family. The combo seems gross, but strangely, it works--kind of like peanut butter and banana sandwiches but with chords and choruses. Listeners will appreciate the versatility of this stuff--the KGB is fun driving music, relaxed party music and study music guaranteed to keep you awake. It's fun at the gym, too, if you don't mind feeling a little badass on the StairMaster.

The KGB doesn't deal with any heavy issues or feelings in their music; their conflict comes from complicated guitar chords, wandering melodies and popping rhythms that change pace in mid-song. Challenging pop music is hard to find, but the KGB churns it out on this self-titled debut. Each song has a different flavor, a different feel and a new way of making listeners connect to the music. By shaking up several genres and injecting a huge dose of cool California personality, the five boys of the KGB give themselves a shot at fame, and give their music a chance to be more than just pop.

Recess dares you to go get this CD. Pick one track and kick it around in your head. Then try and kick it out. We bet it won't work. The KGB songs are less like bubblegum pop and more like some really good potato chips--you can never have just one. Munch on all 11 songs today; grab the CD and get your first KGB fix. We swear it won't be your last.


Share and discuss “From Russia With Love And Pop” on social media.