Green Label Sound/File

After many delays and — as Chuck Inglish put it — some time in “record label jail,” the Cool Kids have finally released their debut studio album, When Fish Ride Bicycles. The hip-hop duo of Inglish and Mikey Rocks have laid down their beats and raps, and the result is…good. While Bicycles is sadly not as epic as it was hyped to be, the album is of the same quality as their past mixtapes and EPs. Although this isn’t a bad thing, the record doesn’t live up to expectations.

Where the album succeeds is in its beats. The bass slaps hard and the samples hit heavy with basically every song. Synth crescendos and scat effects of a typical Cool Kids effort are all present and accounted for as well. Through a sweet pair of headphones, it’s fairly easy to catch yourself nodding to the Chi-town jams.

Even though the beats are heavy, they aren’t as varied as they were on The Bake Sale EP. The songs can begin to meld into one monotonous drum beat after extended listening periods. It also doesn’t help that Mikey and Chuck normally rap with deadpan vocals. Although this has worked in the past, they seem to sluggishly speak the words, droning on with a steady rhythm. Thankfully, their clever lyrics make up for their lackluster delivery. The songs are quality material though, if not just a little repetitive.

There’s nothing horribly wrong with Bicycles — there’s just nothing extraordinary about it. Although it’s reassuring to know that the Cool Kids aren’t going to be changing their style any time soon, it would’ve been refreshing to hear some brighter, upbeat grooves like their past efforts. Bicycles affirms the Cool Kids’ hip-hop swag — the same swag as before, but still containing ill flow and boomin’ beats.