Kid Dad – ‘In A Box’

By Andy Joice

Hailing from Paderborn, Germany, Kid Dad are doing something different. While much mainstream German rock takes influence from industrial metal or post-hardcore electrorock, Kid Dad have built a sound around punchy riffs, leaning into grunge and garage punk. It’s a well known sound on these shores, and perhaps that’s what makes it resonate so much. The driving sounds and discordant choruses are so familiar, they feel like they could’ve been written by the latest band to break from Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, or somewhere else beginning with ‘B’.

During the writing process for ‘In A Box’, Kid Dad travelled across the globe, taking inspiration from China, Switzerland, and the UK. It’s this amalgamation of influences that have led to a succinct, varied debut album.

Opening with a short period of distortion before kicking soundly into ‘A Prison Unseen’, you’re thrown headfirst into the Kid Dad pool. A powerful intro and delicately sung vocals in the verse explode into a chorus that’s a catchy as it is relevant. Though there’s a lyrical theme of losing control, musically it couldn’t be more different, with every groan of the guitars and dulled moment feeling very deliberate. The falls before the rises replicate that urge to let go and unleash yourself, echoed by vocalist Marius Vieth’s freeing wails.

‘Happy’ follows a similar method; delicate verses underpinned by clever melodies lead into big, meaty choruses. It’s the sort of track that could flatten a stage at a live venue (whenever that may be), with crowds of fans contributing to the rise in tension before the first big chorus kicks in, feet stamping through the floor to the bars below. Domestic abuse and the feeling of isolation are key themes throughout ‘In A Box’, and this song bears some of the hallmarks of this, with “How happy are you now?” being a repeated line.

Similarly, ‘Limbo’ and ‘(I Wish I Was) On Fire’ both touch on hiding yourself and wearing a false mask to disguise true feelings. The former shows Vieth at his most versatile as his voice bounces between delicate fragility and empowered wailing, all supported by subtle instrumental hooks. Leading straight into ‘(I Wish I Was) On Fire’, there’s a similar gentle opening before leading into what is ultimately the catchiest chorus of the album.

Though it might build slowly, ‘The Wish Of Being Alone’ culminates in achingly heartfelt sounds that strain under the weight of the closing chorus. Immediately following is ‘Naked Creature’, which maintains this claustrophobic feel throughout its three minutes with whispered moments building into more anxiety inducing choruses.

Closing the album is the slow burning ‘Live With It’, offering a welcome reprise of quiet after near 30 minutes of raucous, pounding garage punk. It’s a courageous ending to such a punchy album, but its beauty is in the delicate vocals offered by Vieth – accompanied by soaring guitar notes that leave a lasting impression, it’ll be ringing through your ears long after the track ends.

Debut albums don’t get much better than this. Not only do Kid Dad set out their stall and show what they can do, they offer glimpses into where they’ll go next; it’s not often an album can grab you in such a way, and this is head-turningly good. If you like hard hitting garage punk with clever lyrics and understated yet powerful vocals, expect this to hit your Album Of The Year list.

ANDY JOICE

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