Over the last decade or so, Mark Bianchi, a.k.a. Her Space Holiday, has been a truly iconoclastic creative force, making eloquent electronic statements that were at once self-referential and self-deprecating. Musically, his work was detailed and intricate, while lyrically he possessed an awareness both of himself and the fact that someone was more than likely listening.
Still however persuasive albums like Manic Expressive and The Young Machines were, years later they can seem a little quaint. As such, Bianchi has decided to divorce himself from the tools he’s so long made his trade. For XOXO, Panda and the New Kid Revival, he’s moved to the other end of the spectrum, abandoning the laptop for a bevy of natural noisemakers. In some ways the approach is suspect; having become so adept at creating music from artificial means does Bianchi really need to go a pedestrian route to do something different? Whatever the answer to that question, here his main tools are a couple of guitars. Throughout the record, though, he adds plenty more. The album’s title track, “The New Kid Revival,” fashions a hand-clapped rhythm and a keyboard backing for what’s just a basic pop song, but a good one at that. And generally that’s what each song here is: basic. However, novel the tack may be to Bianchi, the results are not so unlike that of many others. Exceptions like “Four Tapping Shoes and a Kiss” (imagine the Jesus and Mary Chain if they added ukulele and harmonica) and “Two Tin Cans and a Length of String” (a piano bar populated by noiseniks) aside, the record never reveals anything extraordinary. And that’s too bad, as that’s something Bianchi has done several times before. - The Agit Reader