Lights Out is Dublin duo Kid Karate’s debut EP. It’s a competent enough fusion of rock and punk-funk, but really what’s the point? We’re not in 2003 any more, lads.
Lead track ‘This City’ kicks off with plastic bass and quickly ends up sounding like an out-take from the first !!! album. Vocalist Kevin Breen lasts just one verse in a regular singing voice before blasting into yelping overdrive and never really toning it down for the rest of the EP. Repeated cries of ‘In this city, you’re dead!’ hint at something vaguely sinister but in a musical setting as safe as this, it just sounds trite. Nothing really happens melodically until towards the end when everything turns a bit U2, the Edge-like guitar reverb proving that even new Irish bands can’t escape their countrymen’s long shadow.
Elsewhere on the EP, this sense of not really going anywhere continues. The repetitive synth arpeggios on ‘Heart’ quickly irritate and the whole song has echoes of noughties also-rans The Bravery about it. ‘You Need Violence’ again hints at malevolence but big tuneless riffs and incessant shouting drown any message they’re trying to put across. Clearly Kid Karate want to shout and they want to make a racket, which is all very admirable, but there’s not much to this – no colour, no dynamics, no obvious direction.
They’d be passably entertaining in a back room of a pub and ten years ago they could have ridden on the coat tails of much better bands of the same ilk. However, you fear with a sound like this they’ve missed the boat by some way.