ShitKid – Detention
On Detention, Åsa Söderqvist ditches the honesty and inventiveness of her previous work for little more than aesthetic exercise and empty nostalgia
ShitKid’s 2017 debut Fish managed the often attempted but rarely achieved feat of coalescing scrappy charm and daft humour around disarmingly catchy tunes into a solid, genuinely idiosyncratic lo-fi pop record. However, it’s a shame to say that in fleshing out into a full band and shifting towards a more polished pop sound they’ve hit a startling hiccup. On Detention, Åsa Söderqvist trades the lo-fi surf of her debut for a pop punk sound, and in doing so loses anything singular about her previous work.
While there's a clear attempt to sonically (and in the artwork, visually) reference the punk-inflected pop of the Avril Lavignes or Busteds of the world, the tracks lean closer to the personality devoid, cleaned up distorted guitar sounds of a mid-2000s X-Factor runner up’s ‘rocky’ number. The record may have survived its uniformly bland sonic palette were it hung upon strong songs, but they feel almost identical in structure throughout the album, at times only feeling recognisably different by tempo.
In writing almost exclusively about the high school experience Söderqvist retraces her steps so often that the album, despite being under 25-minutes long, has an alarming sense of repetition. The lyrics deal exclusively in cliché, all pranks on teachers and aimless summers, but is free of any of the sort of detail that brings real emotional impact. While on the opening title track this still has some level of charm, and its Beano-esque second verse is as close as the album gets to ShitKid’s jocular best, as the album wears on it becomes more and more like hearing the same song again and again.
It’s an unfortunate misstep for a promising performer, one that too often ditches the honesty and inventiveness of previous work for little more than aesthetic exercise and empty nostalgia.
Listen to: DETENTION