Spirit Kid “Happiness” EP
This is the a solid follow up EP to his 2010 debut, a burst of joyous guitars and dense harmonies on the opening title track is sure to wake you up. This moves seamlessly into “That Kind Of Man” with a bit more muscle, along the lines of The Posies. My favorite track is the “Sir Robert The Brave” it’s bouncy beat and ever shifting chords, that recall Cherry Twister and The Velvet Crush. The Rickenbacker acoustic ballad “Fool To Fall” is another charmer. “Down A River” is also a gem similar in style to Apples in Stereo. Overall, it’s exemplary power pop of the first order and one of the best EPs of the year.
Khalid Hanifi “A Brief Respite From Shooting Fish In A Barrel”
Hanifi has a melodic gift and here he makes a political statement. He gives us his take on a military contractor’s bravado on the opener “Free The World To Death” done in slow shuffle, similar to Randy Newman. It’s a political protest of how bringing democracy to Afganistan is a “soul crushing screw” to the natives. Next “The Splendor of Empire” has a relaxed melody that charms, and the biting lyrics “There’s class warfare alright/But it’s the rich that’s making war.”
You may not like his politics, but Hanifi is one of the best weavers of lyric and catchy melody since Andy Partidge. Another gem about the lowly 99% is “Whose idea was that?” and the jangle pop on “Hog Futures” leads to a bouncy chorus. It ends with a garage rocker “Give Them What They Want.” But this is a real serious album dealing with corruption, war and inequality – not really cheery pop stuff. But so well done, you take the medicine with the sweet melody.