HorrorPops

Kiss Kiss Kill Kill

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Three albums in, Danish psychobillies the HorrorPops haven't made any sign of slowing down their Cramps- and Misfits-influenced brand of reverb-filled, hard-driving punk rock. Stripped back down to the original trio, upright bassist and singer Patricia Day leads her band through 12 gloriously dramatic songs that straddle the border between tight and shambolic without ever succumbing to either one. Yes, they play the part of the tattooed punk, the angry outcast well, but it's theirs to play, and they do so without slipping into clich├ęd conventions. Titled Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, the record contains, as stated on the cover, "tales about love and murder," which, in truth, describes the tracks here only in the broadest of definitions. Which isn't a bad thing: the HorrorPops show they can break away from the gothic conventions of the genre and instead, while certainly not endangering their overall badass image, broach subjects both more sentimental ("Everything's Everything") and biting ("Heading for the Disco?," which includes the fantastic line "She wished Bret Michaels was her date/Trying so hard to be old-school but goddamn Poison was never cool"). The guitars, bass, and drums are all polished and clean, as they've always been, and sound good, as they always have, so it's the frontwoman who gives each song its individual emotion and reason to remember it by. "Boot2Boot" is rough and unforgiving, Day's voice sounding like she's been screaming for three hours straight, while the slower "Keep My Picture" and "Hitchcock Starlet" are wonderfully sultry. However, Day is best with the more upbeat, melodic pieces, which, conveniently enough, is what the majority of Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is made up of. Both "MissFit" and "Thelma & Louise," for example, manage to be fun and provocative and opinionated but still lighthearted, and the alt-rockish title track is spooky and seductive, two things at which the HorrorPops especially excel. It's catchy and macabre at the same time, with bright hooks and eerie guitars and endless personality, which ends up making for a very good album indeed.

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