P. Hux leader Parthenon Huxley has described Kiss the Monster as an album that "completes a kind of trilogy for me." The first part of the trilogy was 1995's Deluxe, which was recorded when Huxley was married to the late screenwriter Janet Heaney. The second part was 2001's Purgatory Falls, which was recorded after Heaney's ultimately death (she was only 38 when she died of brain cancer in 1997) and was written in memory of her; Purgatory Falls was a compelling listen, although an often difficult one -- the album reflected the fact that life had given Huxley a major kick in the gut. And the third album, 2007's Kiss the Monster, could be described as Huxley's post-recovery album; after Purgatory Falls, Huxley fell in love again, remarried, and had a kid with his new wife. Bearing all that in mind, it isn't surprising that Kiss the Monster doesn't have as many dark moments as Purgatory Falls. This is, on the whole, an optimistic album -- and Huxley's strong power pop/jangle pop instincts yield pleasing results on hooky tracks like "Wear My Ring," "Just Might Fly," "Better Than Good," and "Perfect." Equally noteworthy is a cover of the Beatles' "I'm Looking Through You," which is an appropriate choice given that Huxley -- like so many other power popsters -- was greatly influenced by the Fab Four. The darkest song on the 38-minute disc is probably "My Friend Hates Me," which is about a friend (or rather, ex-friend) suddenly becoming very unfriendly for no apparent reason. But even "My Friend Hates Me" is somewhat humorous, not to mention infectious. Huxley has long had a way with a hook, and there are plenty of them on this consistently appealing CD.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson