Review by Ollie Stygall.
There is so much more to Bristol than funny accents, Massive Attack, Skins, Banksy, Portishead, Tricky, Concord, a dubious history of slave trading and disgraced TV personality Justin Lee Collins. Bristol has a long relationship with punk rock going back nearly 40 years. In the early 80’s the Riot City label launched the careers of local bands Vice Squad and Chaos UK, who are both still going strong alongside other local outcasts Disorder. Later in the 80’s labels such as C.O.R and Manic Ears and fanzines such as Skate Muties From The Fifth Dimension and Bugs And Drugs kept the city at the forefront of the burgeoning hardcore scene. It’s good to see that bands such as Kiss Me, Killer are keeping the flag flying in the city.
Kiss Me, Killer are a five piece self-styled ‘ferocious, hooky, riot grrrl garage punk’ band and, I have to say, their description pretty much makes my review unnecessary as it does sum them up to a tee. Boasting influences from psychedelic originators The 13th Floor Elevators, to garage pioneers MC5 and The Stooges, to punk stalwarts such as The Mob and The Ruts, to old school metal and riot grrrls Bikini Kill, Kiss Me, Killer are very much a product of their diverse influences. On this EP they offer up four tracks of hard hitting, snarling yet melodic punk rock.
Opening track From The Inside betrays a more metallic side to the band, tipping a nod to the NWOBHM, but Holly’s confident vocals and sense of melody keeps things firmly rooted in punk rock, bringing to mind fellow Bristolian Beki Bondage from Vice Squad. It’s a strident starting point with an insistent earworm chorus.
It’s Going Down ups the ante, showing more of the band’s riot grrl leanings with Holly’s syncopated spat out vocals and a guitar line that owes a debt to punk legends the Dead Kennedys. When Holly shouts, “It’s going down,” you can’t help but feel that this isn’t empty invective… shit really is ‘going down’.
Next track, Snakes In the Grass is a more simplistic affair that boasts a faintly gothic edge in the vocals but maintains the aggression and energy of the previous two tracks. It is perhaps the weakest of the tracks on this EP but still stands proud in its own right as a decent slab of metallic punk rock.
Finally we get what I assume is the band’s anthem. Kiss Me, Killer. The doom laden intro tantalisingly suggests we may get treated to some raging 80’s style thrash, but the song quickly settles into a pacey rant with guitars that lurch from ’77-styled punk rock to ‘60s-style garage and back again with no fear for their own safety.
For a band barely two years into their existence, Kiss Me, Killer sound fully formed, confident and purposeful. They are a product of their influences but, even with such a diverse set of influences, they are successfully forging a sound of their own. It is propelled by strong musicianship and a knack for writing songs that keep the energy up and burrow their way into your subconscious.; you will find yourself remembering some of these choruses long after you’ve powered down your stereo! This sounds like a band that could kick up some serious dust live and I suspect there is so much more to come in future.
Review by Ollie Stygall.