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KIX Rock Your Face Off

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Sunday, August 17, 2014 @ 11:51 AM


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KIX
Rock Your Face Off

Loud & Proud Records - 2014
http://www.kixband.com/





The last KIX studio album was way back in 1995 ($how Bu$ine$$), so for the unitiated there might be an expectation that a new album would either sound incredibly dated or simply not be up to the standards of the band's earlier offerings.

SURPRISE!

KIX has done a magnificent job of retaining their sarcastic wiseass tongue in cheek lyrical style and high energy live feeling to their music.

Despite the absence of bassist Donnie Purnell (who wrote a large portion of the band's songs), the band hardly seems to have missed a beat in turning out what can be best described as a fun rock and roll party album. The band's new bassist Mark Schenker finds himself fully immersed in the songwriting for Rock Your Face Off with co-writing credits on 10 of the disc's 12 tracks.

Things get started with "Wheels In Motion", which is a fast paced kickstarter of a track. There's a bit of an odd spitfire vocal delivery from Steve Whiteman in the lyrical bridge to the chorus, but the song immediately captures the band's "let's have a party" vibe.

The band's straight up rockers show their fiery side. The title track (written by Schenker, Whiteman and guitarist Brian "Damage" Forsythe), "Mean Miss Adventure" and the absolutely outstanding closing song "Rock & Roll Showdown" find the band simply blowing you away with sheer intensity.

Though I'm rather picky about ballads, I really enjoyed the track "Inside Outside Inn". The power ballad puts Whiteman's vocals upfront and lets them power the track. They are plainly in your face and not given too much in the way of affectation.

The band's sound is almost universally associated with AC/DC but I also found that in the case of the vocals, I was thinking of Robin Zander from CHEAP TRICK at times.

I found it interesting that the two songs I thought the least of ("Your Gone" and "Can't Stop The Show") were still halfway decent numbers that I'm sure I'm just not fully grasping.

Whiteman and Forsythe wrote both "Tail On The Wag" and "Dirty Girls". The former is a rocker with a great sound enhanced by the inclusion of harmonica to give it a nice bluesy flair. Meanwhile, "Dirty Girls" could be seen as the spiritual descendant of the song "Dirty Boys" from the band's Blow My Fuse album. I liked the song though the vocals did seem a bit muddied in the mix.

The opening bluesy guitar intro on "All The Right Things" gets the song started nicely and the catchy vibe continues throughout the track. It is a fun little ode to the "perfect girl" and is one of the best tracks on the album.

Now, if you are wondering just where the band's wiseass element comes out, you can check out the tracks "Love Me With Your Top Down" (there's a lyric video for the song on Youtube.) and "Rollin' In Honey". Each song is just dripping with sexual innuendo and only the completely humorless will not find themselves smiling with each successive hilarious lyric.

A friend of mine heard "Love Me With Your Top Down" and said that the band sounded trapped in the 80's. I have to disagree with that statement. While the music on Rock Your Face Off is definitely reminiscent of their 80's heyday, the band isn't resting on their laurels. They give you the hook of their past as they continue forward in their reunion. This is not an album that sounds dated in the least.

Rock Your Face Off is not simply the album's title or a song title. It is a bold-faced statement of intent from the band. It is a promise kept and kept well. KIX is back and rock is better for it!

4.7 Out Of 5.0

Pick up your copy of Rock Your Face Off in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE


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