Album Review: When Fish Ride Bicycles by The Cool Kids

Posted: July 16, 2011 by eptarheels23 in Album Review, Music
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Just slighty over three years after their critically acclaimed EP The Bake Sale, The Cool Kids finally released their highly anticipated debut studio album When Fish Ride Bicycles. The Chicago duo consisting of Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish have slightly evolved since their last release, it has become more refined and contemporary. But don’t worry it still has that unique, bass rattling, golden age throwback hip-hop style to it. With Chuck and The Neptunes handling the production and some big name guest features, The Cool Kids are out to prove that the album was worth the wait.

1: Rush Hour Traffic 4.5/5
The album opens with classic Chuck Inglish production. There is a simple, knocking bass but when even more instruments are implemented it’s clear that Chuck has learned some new tricks since their last outing. They also seem to be cruising around in Regals, Cutlasses and old-school Lincolns instead of the BMX’s in Black Mags. This is a typical Cool Kids track, great listen.

2: GMC 3/5
The is by far the simplist beat on the album, composed of just drums and rapping from Chuck and Mikey. To my disappointment, Chuck recycles the chorus from their older track, 88. This cut has a few moments, but they are far and few between.

3: Boomin’ (feat. Tennille) 3.5/5
This beat is a laid back, smooth one and it complements The Cool Kids style perfectly. Tennille grabs the hook and it is short and sweet which is a great thing, it adds to the relaxing feeling. Chuck and Mikey both drops some nice lines, but this isn’t the best track I’ve ever heard from them.

4: Sour Apples (feat. Travis Barker) 4.5/5
When I first saw that Travis barker was featured on this track, I just thought of him going crazy on the drums like he always does. But he sounds held back and semi-restrained on this one. Which is a good thing because it makes the track fight The Cool Kids style. The subject matter isn’t the most original as they rap about bitter women, but hey you can’t get everything right?

5: Penny Hardaway (feat. Ghostface Killah) 5/5
I’ll be honest, this might be the best Chuck Inglish beat to date. The beat is very complex, but the horns and strings make the beat a complete monster. It feels like a new age Wu-Tang track and even gets a guest appearance from Ghostface himself. He steals the show with lines such as “In my years I’ve sported igloos, Alaskan ice, the lightbulbs in my jewels show off in the night.” This is one of the best tracks off the entire album.

6: Bundle Up 4.5/5
The first official single from When Fish Ride Bicycles was a great first offering. Despite the album being released in summer and having songs meant for the warm weather, this song deals with the cold Chicago winters. I guess The Cool Kids want this album to knock year round. The beat on this track bangs and it has a classic Chuck Inglish feel to it. This is a must listen for any Cool Kids fan.

7: Gas Station (feat. Bun B) 4/5
The track bleeds southern hip-hop, not The Cool Kids strong suit. But it works out pretty well in the end. The eerie guitar riffs and vocal samples really add to the overall feel of the song and Bun B drops a dope guest appearance. He manages to hang with the two up and coming emcees. All in all, this a solid listen.

8: Get Right 4/5
The first of two tracks produced by The Neptunes, Get Right has a catchy, funky bassline that would have fit right in on N.E.R.D.’s Seeing Sounds. Chuck and Mikey speak on cars, girls and summertime, a typical Cool Kids track. The Cool Kids feels right at home over an up-tempo Neptunes beat.

9: Swimsuits (feat. Mayer Hawthorne) 5/5
This is a downright infectious, catchy summer jam. The beat is crazy and it is definitely a new lane for Chuck Inglish. It almost seems to be changing its tone very couple of bars. Mayer Hawthorne also drops a killer hook, taking the song to the next level. I feel like this track could have the radio success that The Cool Kids need.

10: Roll Call (feat. Chip Tha Ripper, Asher Roth & Boldy James) 5/5
This posse cut off of When Fish Ride Bicycles is one of the best records too. The beat is composed of piano riffs and tons of 808 kicks. Surprisingly Ash Roth steals the show with lines like “I’ve been waiting for the warm weather, the sweaters getting heavy on me, getting sweaty while I’m getting ever ready, like a wrestler.” Chip Tha Ripper also drops a nice verse along with Chuck and Mikey. I have no idea who Boldy James is, but his verse at the end is actually pretty good.

11: Summer Jam (feat. Maxine Ashely & Pharrell) 3.5/5
This is a definite summer anthem on an album full of them. The hook is catchy and The Neptunes handle the production for the second time. It has a complete Neptunes feel to it and the beat almost seems to pop at times, this will do as an effective closer for When Fish Ride Bicycles.

When Fish Ride Bicycles was a solid debut from the Chicago duo. It was full of summer jams (no pun intended) and tons of car references. The Cool Kids sound has evolved for the better of the group and the album proves they can hang with the other top groups in the game. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another three years for the next project (fingers crossed).

Download: The Cool Kids – When Fish Ride Bicycles

Penny Hardaway (feat. Ghostface Killah)

Roll Call (feat. Chip Tha Ripper, Asher Roth & Boldy James)

Swimsuits (feat. Mayer Hawthorne)

Rush Hour Traffic

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