AIRFIX KITS: “Playing Both Sides” b/w “Leaving” and Flex Time: 7” EP

Mar 04, 2010

Ten years ago, I sneered at the idea of “singer songwriters,” casting them off into the Yacht Rock camp of Loggins and Messina or post-Wings McCartney. But, as in this often cicada-short lifespan of many punk bands, it’s a worthy enterprise tracing particular folks through their various bands, discovering which of their fingerprints were on the steering wheel of a particular musical conveyance. Airfix Kits emerge from the Giant Haystacks cocoon, vocally led by Allan, a British ex-patriot. The Airfix Kits shed many of the Haystacks’ Minutemen-isms. Charming noodling is replaced by tighter, bouncier songs. And the reason I’m intentionally covering two 7”s in the same review is that they have a nice “snapshots of a time” feel to them. The 7”s work great by themselves, but played one after another, it’s like several short stories—think of author Alan Sillitoe, if that helps—telling a larger one: of a man emotionally betrayed, a man trapped by his lack of ambition, a man who’s surrounded by friends making bad decisions. It’s reminiscent, in the best ways, of early Who, early Jam, and Gang Of Four: specific, but universal narratives played like actual lives are at stake… with a beat you can snap your fingers to.

 –todd (Dirtnap, Deranged)