splendid > reviews > 8/19/2005
Kiss Me Deadly
Kiss Me Deadly
Amoreux Cosmiques
Alien 8

Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Groove"

Buy me now
You know how those wacko, evangelical "Ex-Gay" "therapy" centers like to take a poor, conflicted wretch whose self-image is virtually zero and parade him around as their latest "success story", a man whose "unnatural urges" are now "cured"? You know how you usually hear that, between six and twelve months later, that guy has left his similarly "cured" "former lesbian" wife, and has gone back to having a great time shaking his ass on the bar at The Man Hole?

Well, it seems that the musical equivalent of the "ex-gay" absurdity, "former emo band", actually exists. Moreover, it turns out that such a band can produce some really solid pop songs instead of having joyless, uninspired sex with their similarly disinterested mates, all the while imagining the bewitching smile and glistening pecs of Barry, the country club's pool boy.

Sorry, what were we talking about?

Oh, yeah. There are certainly differences between homosexuality and writing emo songs (for example, the former is simply the natural sexual orientation of a sizable portion of the population, while the latter is a hideous, repugnant sin against God and nature), but neither group seems likely to change (kind of like writers who repeatedly pen really long-ass introductions when their editors ask them not to -- Ed.). However, it appears that Kiss Me Deadly have given up the emo lifestyle for good and embraced God's love in the form of hooky, fuzzy, wall-of-sound pop that can bring a smile to even the weariest music critic's face.

Technically, Amoreux is just a four-song teaser for KMD's soon-to-follow LP. It's probably fair, then, to evaluate it as a statement of purpose and a hint of pleasures to come. Opener "Dance 4"'s poptacularity quotient is extremely high: after a simple, vaguely U2-referencing guitar riff and some tasty hi-hat work, we're introduced to singer Emily Frazier and her whisper-soft vocals. It sounds like she's saying "This love and this life will be lovely", or something of that kind, but "Dance 4" is one of those tracks where what she's saying matters a hell of a lot less than the way in which the band's saying it. The song's overall appeal is in its simplicity, its vague appeal to the '80s (though their appeal to that era is far less blatant than most), and KMD's carefully honed ability to pile their sounds up in such a way that none sounds particularly overbearing, but together they seep into every corner of the listening space.

"Dance 1" is similarly structured, and in fact sounds so similar to the preceding track that you might be tempted to assume that they're simply two parts of one extended suite. Of the two, "Dance 4" is by far the stronger effort: "Dance 1" is missing some of its predecessor's breathy sexuality, as well as its exuberance.

"Pop" features the vocal stylings of guitarist Adam Poulin, and his emotional (but in a good way) vocals give the song a significant helping of drama, though the sequenced, noodling guitar and general smoothness of the instrumental accompaniment keeps the proceedings well away from the edge of Emo Canyon. Closer "Groove" is also the best of the bunch. It basically achieves a running-order coup, combining the male and female vocal styles, adding an assertive bassline to the group's by now trademark guitar sound, and generally brings all of Amoureux Cosmiques' best traits to a perfect culmination.

If this is the appetizer, bring on the main course.



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