KISS THE NIGHT
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
The sleeve notes try to make a point about the purpose of this compilation, because so many people think of such releases as very easy and safe these days but Iím not interested in that. Sure, Love makes a good subject, but itís a lyrical constant you find everywhere, so putting together something around that seems fairly oblique as a strategy. It doesnít matter how you dress it up, itís just an emotional collision of styles, and only the quality of the songs will make it a good record.
Thereís mature, efficient dance from Ex-Voto, which is a touch detached for my liking. Itís a well worked song, but the vocals donít seem involved. Stun Gun have a demure, complex tune with periodic outbursts, and I have no idea what Purr Machine are on about, but I like the funnelled vocals, and sedate pace, as itís the songs which enchant that you want. Sex With Lurch certainly throw a highly beguiling soiree, Human Drama have never been the burliest of tunesmiths so this fits in sweetly, even if itís a bit tepid, and Wreckage are attractively mild, if overlong. It all fills the room nicely, without being harrowing. Nice afternoon music. Of course the expected mopey beauty from Audra and soft-focus angst of Element were just dandy, and although I couldnít initially see how the camp dramatics of Fear Cult fitted in, regarding it as Rozz Williams with a hangover, the skewed effects do make it naggingly familiar.
The real highlights? Well for me Channel are musically minxy and I love it. No heartache there, just sublime slinky grooves and empty-headed vocals, Antiworld get the best direct energy pumping, with wiry guitar creating a dour feel in a sharp song, and Second Skin also survive through ambition. The song sounds like a hamfisted Manuskript, but despite their messy vocals it remains the most romantic song here, while emerging tuneful, perky and strange. Best of all has to be Stone 588, who have horribly manky keyboards, but the vocal display, while somewhat over the top, is a real delight and if verging on histrionics, their tone is glorious.
Hardly a qualified success as a concept, for its lofty aims, but seen as an introduction to a variety of talent, if youíre unfamiliar with these artists, itís a serious contender.
Human Drama Ė About Michelle