Karen O and the Kids

3 02 2010

On Monday, while writing the Hot Press on Tour pages, I described a band as being a bit like getting a hug from one of those furry dudes from Where The Wild Things Are. Naturally enough, this led me to dig out the soundtrack by Karen O and the Kids later on in the day. It was one of my favourite albums of last year, so here’s a reprint of the review that I did for it (speaking of reviews-check out my take on the surprisingly tuneful new HIM album in this week’s NME).

Karen O and the Kids

Where The Wild Things Are OST (DCG Records)

Four and a half out of five

Every now and again a record comes along that can just bowl you over. Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O’s first solo effort is one such slab of wax and to be honest it’s as good as anything she’s done in her “day job.” Don’t be expecting a straight forward-verse/chorus/middle eight structure though, as this is the soundtrack to Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are and most of the tunes are fragments and ideas that drift in and out of the record like smoke from a campfire.

 Her backing band, “the Kids,” is a reference to the untrained children’s choir who appear on ‘All Is Love’ and ‘Building All Is Love’ and at times both Karen’s and the kids’ voices are so in synch it’s hard to tell which is which and their contribution is surprisingly heart-warming. Of course her fellow Yeah Yeah Yeahs band-mates also turn up on the record too (as well as members of the Raconteurs, Liars, the Bird and the Bee and many more) but Where The Wild Things Are is very much Miss O’s baby.

All of the songs are acoustic-based in nature and see the singer at her most vulnerable. ‘Worried Shoes’ is as beautiful as it is haunting, ‘Rumpus’ is full of impish energy and ‘Food Is Still Hot,’ (which is basically Karen humming into a microphone backed by a battered old acoustic) is one of the best songs of the year in this writer’s opinion. If you were ever in doubt at Karen O’s talents as a songsmith, then Where The Wild Things Are is proof that she’s maturing into a very special performer indeed.

Key Track: ‘Rumpus’

Edwin McFee