Kiss Kiss revels in melodrama. This New York outfit loads its strain of Indie, Emo and Experimental music with endearingly over-the-top flourishes: electric violins that strike and whine, snatches of slow burn piano and blasts of guitar that ring passionately. (A quick example of the band’s offbeat nature: “Through the Day” contains a transition that suspiciously echoes The Twilight Zone theme.)
Far more restrained than the instruments are the lyrics, which do feature sharp observations like “The face you swore was youthful in its time/ Is now old and worn, a monument for life” (from “All They Draw”). The vocals that deliver those words, however, are most exaggerated of all: Expect whispers, growls, moans, croons and gnashing shrieks that sound like they were recorded in fast-forward.
The resplendent sum resembles a loony musical orchestrated by a My Chemical Romance/Mars Volta/Gogol Bordello supergroup and presented with eye-popping set design — all with the goal of eliciting big responses.
Delving into the history of Kiss Kiss provides purpose to all the theatrics. The project was instigated by guitarist/synth player/vocalist Joshua Benash. Falling into music after he got a free Beach Boys tape from a gas station when he was 5, he formed the group in 2003 while attending the State University of New York at Purchase. There was massive turnover among members — a reported 17 players have apparently come and gone. Making things worse was Benash's acid reflux, which can deter him from touring. (Should you not feel sorry for the guy yet, dig up a few interviews and read his descriptions of vomiting.)
In happier news, the current five-piece version of the band has recently picked up steam by supporting last July's The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left (Eyeball Records). If you're in the mood for decadently delivered anguish, Kiss Kiss is the ticket.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)