H.M. Kids – heavy aggro, heavy promo, lightweight songs...
There was a time, way back in the middle of the sixties when British mod-Motown bands were all growing their hair and going psychedelic, and names taken from the works of William Burroughs had a brief vogue for rock and roll bands.
As far as I can remember the only one that had any real success was Soft Machine.
Now, eight years later, we have the Heavy Metal Kids. In the original Burroughs they were the unpleasant sidekicks of the sinister Doctor Benway.
In this current reality they are a British rock and roll band, with a unique selling point of some kind of urban aggro, on whom Atlantic Records are spending goodly sums of money to persuade us to buy their records and turn them into world renowned household words. Whether this scheme will altogether successful is a moot point.
Not that there’s anything really wrong with the Heavy Metal Kids. Atlantic don’t, as a rule, lavish grade A promo campaigns on completely useless turkeys.
In fact, H.M. Kids are quite a tasty amalgam of a lot of what has been recognised as good over the last couple of years. They have a neat approach to the organisation of their rock and roll, the kind of thing that Bob Ezrin did for Alice Cooper. Much of the music has a resemblance to Cooper. It has the same kind of keyboard overlays that dignify guitar riffs into full blown themes.
Individually none of the band can be faulted. Mickey Waller plays some neat guitar from the same field of study as Keith Richards and Ron Wood.
The rhythm section is tight and together, and lead singer Gary Holton has an adequate voice that at a stretch is second league manic.
It doesn’t have the animal dumbness of Jim Dandy, or the frantic insolence of Iggy Stooge, but it’s getting there. When he relaxes a little, Holton manages to sound like a not-so-booze-soaked Rod Stewart.
The real trouble with the Heavy Metal Kids is that there isn’t anything too original to hang on to. The weakness is in the tunes. The sound is immaculate, but the songs, particularly the lyrics, are infinitely forgettable. If they could come up with stuff like “Maggie Mae” or “Under My Heels”, they might be going somewhere.
If, as it seems, they are Atlantic’s current blue eyed boys, they may get a couple more albums to try and solve the problem. If they don’t, I fear the record company will never recoup their investment.
Mick Farren - NME