Kisses - Kids in LA

The sound of a band unafraid of the pop music tag.

Rating:

Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson are the youthful photogenic duo whose latest record evokes the emptiness out of season life in wintertime Southern California, a noticeable departure from the sun-kissed party hedonism of their debut effort ‘The Heart Of The Nightlife’. Each of the tracks here has its place and there are some wonderful moments just waiting to be discovered. A couple of the tracks take repeated listening to spark your interest but fit together in context of the album as a whole.

‘The Hardest Part’ is the sort of bittersweet love song that New Order in their prime specialised in, all crisp drum machines and melancholy. This is followed by the Debbie Deb channelling ‘Huddle’ with its deep baseline and old school R&B complete with sinewy ‘meet me in the middle girl, meet me in the huddle’ chorus. It’s little touches like the heartbeat sound effects on ‘Funny Heartbeat’ that really tell, a slice of tropical pop par excellence replete with laid-back guitar licks and keyboards. Treated vocals are another tool that should be used with caution but they get the balance right on ‘Air Conditioning’, the pair’s voices coupling over shimmering retro synths to create a glorious slither of aural joy. The penultimate ‘Bruins’ takes the tempo down a notch, a tale of moonlight hours and strangers in rooms. It’s dreamy vibe highjacked mid song by a tidal wave of synths that appear to have come straight from M83’s ‘Midnight City’ and shake you back onto the floor.

Wrapping simple observational lyrics in a pop coating is Kisses’ forte, aided and abetted by Saint Etienne’s Pete Wiggs and Tim Laracombe who deserve immense credit for their polished production work here. ‘Kids In LA’ is the sound of a band unafraid of the pop music tag. It doesn’t try too hard to be cool or rock climb your intellect but makes you smile, dance and sing away to yourself in places you shouldn’t.
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