6   +   10   =  

Though both originally from Portugal, as their name hints at, the two artists that make up electronica duo Lisbon Kid, Danny de Matos and Rui da Silva, have well and truly cut their musical teeth in our very own capital. Based predominantly in Soho, Lisbon Kid have worked with, remixed and performed for a variety of popular names, as is demonstrated on this, their first LP, a real group effort teeming with collaborators and guest vocalists. Does this allow for expansive eclecticism, or is it a case of too many cooks? The jury is still out on that one; this is a difficult, though not irredeemable, debut album.

What is most puzzling about Lisbon Kid is the fact that, for a self-titled album, the central duo is rarely its focal point. Almost every track features a guest vocalist, and it is normally these performances that are the reason for the album shining if and when it does. Though the group certainly has a distinctive electro-pop sound, often blending acoustic instruments with complex drum pad beats and sequencers, tracks often fail to take off after plateauing halfway through their runtime.

At The End Of The Day, for instance, hooks the listener in from the beginning, but fails to develop instrumentally in the same way the performance of vocalist Danny de Matos succeeds. Last Weekend is one of the record’s strongest moments, but again this is only due to the thrilling narration from actor Tony Bignell, whose lament upon the day-to-day dirge of ‘the shit show they call media telesales’ serves as a dark and gritty 21st century answer to Parklife. The music beneath his performance follows the same template throughout the track as with much of the musicianship on Lisbon Kid, forcing the frontman to carry on his shoulders a track otherwise lacking in ideas.

One of the few tracks that do evolve and develop in interesting ways is the punchy dance-pop belter Get It On, featuring the incredibly powerful voice of Swindon-born songstress Queen of Hearts. It has a joyfully retro aesthetic to it and races through its four minute duration with real flair and panache, its closest relatives being ‘00s synth-rockers like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and MGMT. The same cannot be said for the track that follows it: This Is The Life. If the song’s title is supposed to have any kind of autobiographical relevance, then the band does a damn good job of persuading us to think otherwise. The track plods along with all the enthusiasm of a worker in the aforementioned telesales on a Monday morning, and the vocal performances leave a lot to be desired.

This isn’t the perfect debut release by any means, but Lisbon Kid have just about managed to get away with it. For every stinker there is another track of infinite technical and textural complexity, and though it has problematic moments, this LP is definitely worth a listen for the times that it does get things right.

★★★

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