Kisses: “Kids in L.A.” Album Review

kissespresspic1_800_11Artist: Kisses
Album: Kids in L.A.
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Label: Cascine

I was not alive for any part of the 80’s, so I can’t recommend bringing out your old neon spandex, teasing your hair really big and watching a few poor-quality aerobics videos.

I can’t reminisce about the greatness of synth-pop and key-tars, yuppie rides or coke-fueled weekend benders.

But when I listen to LA pop-duo Kisses brand new album Kids in L.A, I pretend I understand it all and begin to reminisce about all the things I’ve never experienced. It’s 1986 and I am young, rich, bored and probably have large hair. I am a kid in LA. Except it sounds like the party is over.

Kisses’ 2010 debut album The Heart of the Nightlife put you exactly there; in a flashy, neon-hued Californian vacation party, strung out by the hotel pool while a sun sets into the horizon silhouetted with palm trees.

Three years later, their sophomore record Kids in L.A., however, takes you where the party ends and somebody has to pick up all the red cups. The sun is hiding behind clouds, the palm fronds are dying, and the beach chairs are abandoned. It’s cold and anxious, but somehow still catchy as hell.

The album begins with “Up All Night”, a synth and drum-machine heavy tune reminiscent of late 80’s aerobic rhythms but brushed with a dark layer of melancholy. These Kids in LA aren’t up all night to get lucky, it sounds more like they just can’t sleep because all the anti-depressants.

“Hardest Part”, a standout track, is totally depressing, but sounds mature, grown-up, realistic. It’s full of programmatic snare beats, warm analog snyth and deep moody vocals. It’s moody, yet melodic and inviting.

Although this album sounds significantly darker than their former, not all tracks lack their upbeat, pop-riffled party sound. “Funny Heartbeat” may talk about feeling funny and having heart palpitations but it sounds more like a young love-struck couple getting butterflies.

Sometimes we just want the party. We need feel-good flowery pop songs. But eventually the party ends. On Kids in L.A. Kisses tells us about it. And sometimes that’s what we need too.

The duo will be at the Griffin THIS Thursday May 17th:

By: Amanda Martinek