Kisses KissesThe Heart Of The Nightlife
Like a sonic postcard from the summer we miss so much right now, Kisses come to us while the cold wind chills us to the bone . Although at this time of year it’s no longer possible to feel heat except when we leave the northern hemisphere and go south, imagine yourself in a hammock, sipping piña coladas and watch time go by slowly, like when we have nothing better to do. That’s exactly the first thing that crosses my mind when I hear an album like “The Heart Of The Nightlife”, with its nine tracks reminiscent of a soundtrack to a tropical booze fest. The project by Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson, a couple in real life, too, has sonic ties with bands like Hot Chip and Cut Copy, as well as with chill-wave and The Whitest Boy Alive, the kings of humanised salon dance – “Kisses”, the track, has a funk pulse that could have easily come from Erlend Øye in a dynamite dancing mood.
Kivel, who is a member of Princeton as well, is (in spirit) more Swedish than Jens Lekman, and we suspect he doesn’t even know it. He’s probably had the bad luck to be born in a country where he doesn’t belong, like something of a heretic in the US, sympathising with Balearic rhythms– as in the already known “Bermuda”, included on one of the two previous EPs. Although those lyrics, as simple and direct as they come, maybe the best feature of the band, leave no room for doubts with regards to their origins: they are declarations of love for the American west coast, the real red thread of a debut that perfectly executes its mission of taking us to places where the sun silently tattoos the melanomas on our skin.
However, mixed by RAC’s Andrew Maury, “The Heart Of The Nighlight” suffers from a considerable problem: it’s sound deflates as the minutes go by because they keep repeating the same pattern –charged with tropicalist mid-tempos like “A Woman In Brooklyn” or “Women Of The Club”– which, beyond the pleasant and sympathetic first listen, don’t stick by you in the long run. The shining moments come when they use their most typical weapons, the ones used on the singles, like that disco fortress called “Midnight Lover” –Kivel’s friendship with the legendary French disco producer Alec R. Costandinos had to come up somehow– or on “People Can Do The Most Amazing Things”, a song that will add to the never-ending new wave revival a dab of obscure sound, more intense than the usual. And another track with which Kisses strike gold is the organic Euro-dance of “Lovers”. Anyway, this is only the first step on their journey. They’ve come up with a decent album, certainly. But we’ll have to follow them closely but stealthily in order to confirm if the Californians can go further than making summery tunes.
Sergio del Amo