The Real Kids – Down to You – Review

The Real Kids

Down to You (TKO)
by Jon Sarre

Much like their Beantown peers, DMZ, The Real Kids kinda got drafted into punk rock cuz they happened to be both scruffy and in existence just as the CBGB/rebirthed Max’s scene was germinating in the Big Apple. Truth bein’ what it is (and sometimes revisionistic), the Kids and Monoman’s destined-to-be-short-lived-prologue to The Lyres were really more rock revivalist purists, sorta pickin’ up where Barry and The Remains (Boss-Town’s great-unwashed ’60s hope to be the next Paul Revere and The Raiders or sumptin’, tho’ all they actually managed was more Kenny and the Kasuals, whose “Journey to Tyme” made a similar non-impact on the pop charts as Barry’s “Don’t Look Back”) left off. Either way, The Real Kids made a coupla great records in the late ’70s, but after the entrance of the three-headed hydra of commercial indifference, substance abuse and “personality conflicts” took their toll, they just sorta sputtered out sometime in the 1980s. The inevitable reformation, record, and subsequent tour made me suspicious (as it usually does), so I blew ’em off when the played here (bad move, I was informed the next day, cuz they reportedly ripped the joint).

Judging from this here four-song EP, The Real Kids haven’t lost much steam, haven’t grown up much either, convincingly chuckin’ out hook-heavy anthems to Teenage Lust, a tough and sometimes embarrassing stunt for anyone twenty years or more removed from high school daze. “Ahhhh” harmonies counterpoint chunky bass on “Make It Go Away.” “I’ll Say It” is snotty “fuck you, girl” lovey dovey-type sung from the point of view of some lovey-dovey type guy who knows he just hasta blow this chick off, even tho’ he really likes her, kinda like the stuff Ben Weasel (another okay teen-song-by-non-teen writer) sings when he’s on (minus the part about “really liking her”). A fuzzy guitar riff and two torrid solos on “Something Bad” complement the song’s Ramonesesque rhythm section and allows me to not dwell on the relentlessly sappy lyrics. The opener, “Down to You,” just plain fucking rips, ’60s punk meets ’70s punk head on, but, uh, dipped in a vat o’ sap.