culture has always been a cyclical, cannibalizing beast, consuming its
past trends only to regurgitate them upon future generations, but the
feeding cycle seems to be in overdrive lately. The 1980s have already
risen from their shallow grave with bands such as Interpol and Franz
Ferdinand picking up where Joy Division and Duran Duran left off. That
a decade less than one generation removed is already considered retro
is frightening enough, but what looms on the horizon is even worse. The
past few months have seen Serena Maneesh and now Kiss Me Deadly release
albums steeped in the shoegazer sound. That's right folks: The first
wave is upon us. The 1990s are back.
the music of my early adolescence come back into style before I've
quite reached my mid-twenties is stirring up quite the existential
crisis within me, but I'll try to stick to the matter at hand. This
Montreal dream-pop outfit has been making waves after a successful
American tour with Bloc Party and a well-received tour-only EP, Amoureux Cosmiques.
You might expect a band exploring such ethereal, cerebral soundscapes
not to be so goddamned lazy with its song titles - did four songs on
the album really need to be titled "Pop"? - but don't let Kiss Me
Deadly's apathy for names fool you. The four members of this band know
how to reel you in on their sophomore full-length, and they aren't
afraid to do so.
the album begins with chief vocalist Emily Elizabeth singing "just pull
the sheets down/ you had me at the door/ Just hike the skirt up/ a
little more, a little more" with her airy, come-hither delivery shows
that the band is well aware that sex indeed sells. The song's lush
guitar work swelling and rising before finally peaking with Elizabeth
shrieking orgasmically overtop of it before gently closing probably
wasn't an accident either. Blatant? Maybe. Effective? Yes.
of the rest of the album plays out in similar fashion. The band
combines Elizabeth's distinct vocal range with a lush, layered sound to
create songs spacey enough to justify the album's cover but danceable
enough to keep those shoes hard to stare at. The band only seems to
misfire when Adam Poulin takes over vocal duties. There isn't anything
especially unpleasant about his vocals, but next to Elizabeth's
show-stealing antics, they come off quite ordinary. As a result, solid
tracks "Pop" and "Let's" suffer by comparison.
That said, Misty Medly shows a huge progression from the emo stylings (if you can call them that) of Kiss Me Deadly's first disc, 2002's Travel Light. As
for this opening volley of the 1990s vs. 2.0, I suppose it could be
worse. As long as I don't have to wear flannel or listen to Gavin
Rossdale, I think I'll be okay.