Monday, October 22, 2018

KISSING THE PINK's What Noise (Expanded Edition) reviewed!

(Cherry Red Records)

Available NOW!

Like every decade before and since, there are so many bands from the ‘80s that were under-appreciated. Even the bands that managed to squeeze out a hit or two back then don’t get as much love today as they deserve. Kissing The Pink is most certainly one of those bands.  Maybe it was the ‘suggestive’ name that stopped them from climbing the U.S charts?  Perhaps there was too much competition? Could it be possible that they created music that was a bit too challenging for the average music listener? Whatever the reason, Kissing The Pink made records with many different layers, each of them offering new secrets with every spin. Their 1983 debut album NAKED traveled down many paths – Synthpop, Post-Punk, New Wave, Goth, Electro Pop, etc. The album did enjoy some success and their fans anxiously awaited their next musical move.

When sophomore album WHAT NOISE was released in 1984, it didn’t receive a worldwide release. It came and went without much fanfare and was difficult to track down as an import in the U.S. In fact, many fans didn’t realize the album had been released at all and only a lucky few managed to obtain a copy before the album slipped between the cracks and disappeared. Although the band rebounded in ’86 (as KTP) with the album CERTAIN THINGS ARE LIKELY, WHAT NOISE remained a rarity for decades. Now, thanks to Cherry Red Records, the album is being resuscitated and given a new lease on life in a remastered and expanded edition. And we should all be so very thankful.

WHAT NOISE is a beautifully strange album indeed. As eccentric as it is melodic, the tracks sound as if they were big, bombastic productions that were mixed, remixed and then stripping most of the production away, leaving only the glorious hooks with vocal tracks and minimal instrumentation to fend for themselves. And it is quite wonderful to behold! For example, “The Other Side Of Heaven” sounds like it could have had a glossy, 32-track Stephen Hague-like production but they wiped 20 tracks and left only what they felt was absolutely necessary. And the big vocals sound like a church choir performing at your local pub – warm and joyful yet possessed by a mournful soul. “The Rain It Never Stops” is mostly an experimental instrumental piece… until it no longer wants to be and those voices come in, chanting the song title every now and then. Fab. “Each Day In Nine” sounds like The Blue Nile in a good mood. “Radio On” is one of the few tracks that sounds ‘fully formed’ with jangly, rhythmic Funk elements battling with solid Synthpop elements. And while all of these schizophrenic elements may seem like the album is disjointed or unfocused, that couldn’t be further from the truth. WHAT NOISE is an album that takes you on a unconventional journey and sounds unlike any album that was released in ’84. The band’s originality may have been the reason their label decided to release the album in just a few markets – the average consumer wasn’t prepared for an album like this. We can only hope that they are now!

Keep on truckin',
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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