For Toronto’s Kids On TV, it’s been a long road to get their debut album completed, one that has lasted the better part of three years. For those waiting to hear Mixing Business With Pleasure, released last week by the Blocks Recording Club, there has been the lingering question of how the music would translate from the live show onto tape. For a band that is so infamous for its high-energy, explicit performances, how would the music hold up on its own? Very well, it turns out.
Of course, it’s unfair to compare the band’s musical ouput to their concerts, but the subject is impossible to avoid with a band like Kids On TV who’ve made their name in this city because of their shows, often with little mention made of the music. With the release of Mixing Business With Pleasure, Kids On TV finally establish themselves as a band, not merely entertainers. That’s not to say that the album is far off from the live show: it’s still filled with plenty of heavy beats, loud vocals and some of the most sexually explicit lyrics most of us will ever come across. It just gives fans a chance to fully appreciate the Kids On TV experience with a clear, crisp sound.
The lyrics will probably discourage many from giving the album a decent chance, but a song like “Cockwolves” should not be sold short because of it’s title. With a few exceptions, most notably “We Are The New Keith Cole,” there are a small number of instances of the disc that are purely intent to shock the listener. No song is more interesting than “Breakdance Hunx,” which appears twice (including the mix that was on the Friends In Bellwoods compilation), where there is a dialogue that examines the market value of “a little blonde boy who breakdances and sucks cock.” Not only are both mixes of the song insanely addictive, the lyrics show that Kids On TV are often explicit for a reason, examining the commercial nature of sexuality and its consumption.
In “Jeremy, Mon Ami,” the subject is told, “Your figure is your fortune.” And then there’s the irony laden cover of Jermaine Stewart’s hit “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off,” which creates an intriguing counter-point to the rest of the album. There are too many ways to interpret that song within the context of Mixing Business With Pleasure, so all we’ll say is that it’s really, really good. Unfortunately, the cover of Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home A Heartache,” which also appears twice, fails (both times) by sounding overly dramatic and out of place. It is the only large gaffe on an otherwise solid album which will continue to promote the idea of Kids On TV as one of Toronto’s most risqué bands, but also have them start to gain recognition for their music.
Kids On TV play two CD release shows at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, May 25th and 26th. Their 3rd Annual Bathhouse Event happens at the Spa Excess Bathhouse on June 15th.