I've been an obsessed hard rock & heavy metal fan and collector since the early 1980s. If it's got a good guitar riff and attitude, I'm in.
Never Stop Power Poppin'!
Rob Richardson is a North Carolina based musician who's doing more than his share to help keep the classic sounds of '70s power-pop and '80s hard rock alive on this Earth. This talented songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist has released numerous EPs and albums with a variety of bands via his own Squib Kick Records label imprint over the past few years, assembling an impressive catalog of fun, retro flavored music that showcases his respect and love for the hard rockin' sounds that ruled the radio and MTV in days gone by.
I've reviewed Rich Kid Express' two previous releases for this site (the Bubblegum Radio EP and the full length debut Psychodelic, both released in 2020) and enjoyed them both. Rich Kid Express' fun, throwback hard rockin' vibes recall such past masters as Sweet, Cheap Trick, early KISS, and Def Leppard and are ideal listening for hot summer days when you're driving around crankin' your car stereo with the windows down. R.K.E. is retro rock done right!
In the last quarter of 2021, Rob returned with a double shot of fresh material: a new Rich Kid Express single, "Cold Hearted," as well as "That Girl's Electric," a new effort from The Bad Somethings, one of his many other projects. So let's press "play" on these new jams and see how they stack up!
"Cold Hearted" Lyric Video:
Rich Kid Express - "Cold Hearted"
RKE's "Cold Hearted" is a straight-ahead, no-frills rocker with a driving guitar riff that will have you nodding along in no time. It's a fine slab of '80s style hair metal straight out of the Kix/early Def Leppard playbook.
The "B-side" to the single, "Ride the Sky" (no relation to the classic Helloween song by the same name) is a faster paced, slightly raunchier and more pedal-to-the-metal track, recalling vintage AC/DC till the chorus comes in and adds a dash of Sweet or Slade to the recipe. This is pure raise-your-hands arena rock the way it used to be played, and still should be today!
As with previous Rich Kid Express releases, all the instrumentation and vocals on the "Cold Hearted" single were written, performed and produced by Richardson, to my continued amazement and admiration. Since I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time without tripping over something or biting my lip, I am consistently impressed by guys who can not only play more than one musical instrument, but play them all well. Kudos, Rob!
The Bad Somethings - "That Girl's Electric"
In The Bad Somethings, Rob splits the instrumental duties with band mate David Barker, who's been jamming on and off with Rob since the mid 1990s. T.B.S. has been around since 2017 and the duo released a self titled album in 2018, but this is the first time I've heard any of their material. Rob performs the drums, keys and bass on "That Girl's Electric" while Barker shreds the guitars and both guys share vocal duties.
Musically, The Bad Somethings aren't very far removed from Rich Kid Express -- in fact, it makes me wonder why Rob and David don't just join forces full time and choose one band name. Squib Kick's web site says that The Bad Somethings are "influenced by KISS, Cheap Trick, AC/DC, and Def Leppard," and I can definitely hear all of that in "That Girl's Electric," which is loaded with '70s rock swagger and attitude, from the jangling riffs to the thumping bass lines and big, shout-along chorus. In short, if you like Rich Kid Express, you'll like The Bad Somethings, and vice versa.
"That Girl's Electric"
I greatly enjoyed both of these singles and I look forward to seeing where RKE and TBS go from here. Clearly, Rob Richardson is a guy who's got a lot of music in him that's screaming to get out!
If you'd like to get on board the Squib Kick train and keep track of what's happening in the world of Rich Kid Express, The Bad Somethings, or any of Richardson's other hard rockin' projects, you can visit Squib Kick's official website and Facebook page, or their YouTube channel.
Rich Kid Express and The Bad Somethings each have their own pages on Facebook and Bandcamp as well, so you have no excuse for not checking them out. I wish you all happy listening and good rockin'!
© 2021 Keith Abt