By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Flowing in the vein of the Sounds, Shiny Toy Guns and the Lovemakers, Huntington Beach-based quintet A Kiss Could Be Deadly (AKCBD) target the dance-till-you-drop-and-look-damn-hot-doing-it crowd. Bathed in the light of retro new wave and hip electronic sparkle, AKCBD bounce and shimmy with polished, meticulously put-together energy.
On their new self-titled album, the band know what works for them, and they roll with it. They pair electronic glitter with fierce lyrics, crafting a collection of power-pop gems. Programmer/synth-master Chris Qualls is clearly the star, thanks to his talent for sculpting dynamic hooks and riffs. Front woman Lauren Baird brings the obvious sex appeal; her vocals don't have much of a range, but with AKCBD's embellished background noise holding her up, it keeps the sound from getting overly fussy and complex. Guitarist John Bennett, bassist Kelly Cairns (who co-wrote several of the album's songs alongside Qualls) and drummer Danny Deleon were added after AKCBD received positive feedback from the distribution of the band's demos. Good thing, as the addition of these three brings solidity to an otherwise velutinous sound.
"Poison IV" and "Midnight Romance" are the two most likely candidates for Breakthrough Dance Anthem, although any of the other tracks wouldn't be far behind. Closing the album, however, is the completely unexpected "Acoustic Romance," featuring a (surprise!) acoustic guitar flitting around Baird's suddenly soft, vulnerable vocals. It's absolutely gorgeous.
Let's hope that for their next album, A Kiss Could Be Deadly will expand their sound. They have the potential to be a multifaceted powerhouse.
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/akisscouldbedeadly.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to email@example.com.