In the market for some cutesy, lovey-dovey, lo-fi acoustic pop fare? (And, really, who isn’t?) For their eponymous debut, the two brothers that comprise the Kevins recorded an album of mushy love songs over the course of three Kansas Christmases with help from their sister, credited as Pink Nasty. The band’s mission is to capture the ups and downs of puppy love. It’s not the loftiest of goals, but it’s one they succeed at for the most part.
There really isn’t all that much to the Kevins’ music, although that’s a large part of the appeal. The band strips its sound down to the barest essentials; vocal harmonies floating over gentle guitar strumming. This minimalist approach helps accentuate the heart-on-sleeve aesthetic the band is shooting for. The boys try to purvey themselves as demure and well mannered but charming enough to make the ladies swoon. Your tolerance to overt sentimentality will ultimately determine your enjoyment of the album. Still, it’s hard not to smile – even if it’s in spite of yourself – at some of the albums kitschier moments.
What’s even harder, though, is buying the act they’re selling. As much as you might want to give them the benefit of the doubt, it’s hard not to think the Kevins are sharing a secret laugh over how gullible we are for buying this sappy façade. Unless, of course, they’re too busy scoring with all the chicks this sensitive boy-next-door routine lands them. It’s hard to keep our bullshit detectors from going haywire these days (the fact that one brother also records vulgar rap as Black Nasty and released an album titled AIDS Can’t Stop Me doesn’t help the band’s credibility). The joke may be on us, but if you’re willing to play along, the Kevins’ debut can be an entertaining piece of escapist pop drivel.