Kicking The National Habit Image
Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: The London duo of Rupert Lyddon and Lawrence 'La' Rudd make their debut with this '80s-influenced album (reminiscent of everyone from New Order to the Police).
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. This is reggae-inflected rock filtered through Gorillaz-style genre restlessness. [31 Mar 2006, p.65]
  2. 80
    Touches of ska... and ethereal dream-rock... betray a penchant for late-'70s guitar experimentation, alchemised here by a brilliant pop sheen. [Jul 2004, p.101]
  3. Grand National's main skill lies in their ability to twin their fine songs to tight electronic productions, striking the perfect midpoint between live organics and cool digital sequencing.
  4. 80
    A stripped-back stroll through the summer of the '80s. [Jun 2004, p.106]
  5. Although the uniformly sweet pop songs on Kicking the National Habit sound influenced by the likes of the Police, Men at Work, Duran Duran, and the rest of the more commercial side of the early MTV era, the arrangements are more electronic in nature.
  6. 70
    There's a lot of passion and red corpuscles surging just outside the music's clean, primary-colored lines. [Apr 2006, p.112]
  7. Tracks such as "Boner" and "Peanut Dreams," stripped of any excitement, are nothing more than highly polished and easily forgettable songs to ignore at a swanky upstairs club.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. DCC
    Nov 25, 2006
    10
    Very solid. Pop without the pop guilt. Recommended.
  2. louelo44
    Jul 25, 2005
    10
    I love it
  3. LaLa
    Jun 23, 2006
    10
    Simply Astouding. If you like samrt pop, look no further.
  4. TyS
    Jul 24, 2004
    9
    Music is many things to many people. Some see it as a means of escaping reality, to forget their everyday lives for a fleeting moment. Some Music is many things to many people. Some see it as a means of escaping reality, to forget their everyday lives for a fleeting moment. Some use it as a stepping stone to help propel their imaginings to become reality. Others simply see it as a way to pass the time, whether for a few minutes or for a few hours. For me it is a passion and a voracious one at that. It?s almost like a drug I can?t do without for longer than an hour. Or an obsession that occupies my mind for most of my waking hours. And it?s not only the art of listening to music that I enjoy, it?s the eventual thirst for knowledge that I love when I discover an artist or DJ that has piqued my interest. It?s that constant need to know more that led me to Grand National and their debut ?Kicking The National Habit?. For more than a month now, I?ve been obsessed with a particular track that can be found on Sasha?s ?Involver?. That track is his re-edit of Grand National?s ?Talk Amongst Yourselves?. From the moment I heard this track, the vocals and the intricacy of the melody consumed me. As a result, I wanted to hear more from its creators and as soon as possible. I wanted to know if the quality of their music was consistent with that one track that I?ve been playing over and over. And it is. Very much so. Grand National, as an entity, consists of Londoners Lawrence Rudd and Rupert Lyddon. While they met in the late 90?s, they didn?t start playing together until three years ago. ?Kicking The National Habit? is the end result of two individuals whose lives, from an early age, have been filled with music and of influences that draw heavily from the earlier part of the 80?s. Grand National?s auspicious debut begins with ?Drink To Moving On?. The opening guitar chords lead into a sensuously hypnotic vocal while complimented by a laidback melody. A beautifully layered track that grows in depth with every listen. What can be said about ?Talk Amongst Yourselves? that hasn?t already been said. For me, it is the tune of the year regardless of listening to the original or Sasha?s re-edit. It makes me feel like I?ve learned to breathe for the first time. There are those that will never understand my rambling but there are a few of us that could talk about this track for hours and hours. It?s pure emotion captured in a group of chords and riffs. I will never get tired of listening to it. Lost in the pleasure of the previous tracks, I?m brought back to reality with ?Playing In The Distance?. This is a tune driven by drums and everything falls around that aspect. In some respect, it reminds me of the busy streets of a large metropolis. With ?Boner?, I?m instantly reminded of my early Madness phase. There?s the obvious Ska influence but at the same time, it has a feel that is reminiscent of Swing bands from the 40?s. I didn?t know what to think when I first heard this but it?s since become a cheeky favourite. ?Peanut Dreams? is one of the most laidback but funky tracks I?ve heard in ages. It has a very jazzy feel to it and those vocals are so damn sexy. It?s almost like waking up to the sound of your lover whispering in your ear. The next track, ?Cherry Tree?, is one of my favourites on this album. The underlying melody is so infectious but it?s overlapped by the energy in the beat. I?m reminded of so many early bands but I can?t put my finger on what it ultimately reminds me of. But that?s cool because I think in the end, it will simply remind me of Grand National. There?s such a summer time feel to ?Coming Round?. I can almost see the beach when I hear it. It?s just a fun and happy go lucky tune. Such a simple sounding track but it actually begins to take on a certain complexity with every listen. When you start to hear ?Daylight Goes?, there?s an instant feel of a tropical island. If I close my eyes, I can see The Police. In fact, I can see my early teens flash before me with every track. It puts a smile on my face. While ?Kicking The National Habit? is filled with gems that I adore, there are some that stand out more. ?North Sound Off? is one that draws me in right at the beginning. To me, it?s so typically English in sound with its running bass and melodic piano riff. It smacks of a cheeky attitude. As a closing track, ?Litter Bin? is a sumptuous finale to an inspiring group of tunes. It?s quietly guitar driven and the underlying vocals and melody are used to enhance that aspect. More than anything it?s rich in texture. From an overall perspective, what Grand National have achieved is to create a soundscape that blurs that fine line between dance and rock while never once derailing into a lacklustre sound. You don?t have to be a fan of mainstream rock in order to appreciate the edgier quality of ?Kicking The National Habit?. At the same time, you don?t have to be a fan of electronica to enjoy the dance aspects that are abundant throughout. There?s such a subtle groove from beginning to end that overtakes you without even realising it. With every listen of this debut, it just keeps sounding better and I often find myself feeling as if I?m drowning in a sea of lush chords and infectious beats. More than anything this album is a collection of sounds that have a universal appeal while capturing personal intimacies. At the end of it all, it?s very much a personal choice but for me, it?s a special day when I get to hear music as enjoyable as this. My obsession continues. Much respect! Expand
  5. BenH
    Apr 8, 2005
    9
    The sound is a perfect blend of synths and guitar that is pleasing to the ear and addictive. America never caught on, but this album is The sound is a perfect blend of synths and guitar that is pleasing to the ear and addictive. America never caught on, but this album is enjoyable to everyone i know who hears it. Expand
  6. matta
    Apr 3, 2006
    9
    This is really solid stuff. Sounds like a poppier LCD Soundsystem. Very enjoyable and definitely one of the first essential albums of the year.
  7. tomw
    Jun 9, 2005
    9
    It is simply amazing that the guys did not conquer the world on the back of this release. maybe the songs are a little too accessible and It is simply amazing that the guys did not conquer the world on the back of this release. maybe the songs are a little too accessible and enjoyable for people to appreciate the considerable invovation and craft evidenced here. For whatever reason, let the world's loss be your gain. One of the debuts of the decade so far. Expand

See all 11 User Reviews