By Chris CalarcoDecember 27, 2010
, a five-piece rock n roll band, hails from the Pacific Northwest, (most of the band grew up in the churches of Pullayup, WA) but their sound is straight blues based southern rock. With a regrettable moniker recalling the comical jam band names of the late 90s, Sweet Kiss is nonetheless a barnstorming sensation according to their press release, selling records across Europe and garnering huge sale numbers on independent music distribution website CD Baby. Revival Rock,
is their follow up to a self-titled EP from 2008, and its sound is particularly bland. There is emotion behind the musical performances, it punches with some grit and power at times but the song writing lacks anything notable to separate it from a million songs penned by the bearded and love spurned whiskey drinkers of yesteryear. While rocking Saturday nights and regret filled Sunday mornings are an enduring, joyous, and humbling human experience, the band simply plays things too close to the vest to make an impression. Good ‘ole rock n’ roll can be simultaneously majestic and heartbreaking but Revival Rock
only occasionally sniffs that revered place where simplicity and a direct connection with the blues and power rock channels sweet salvation.
Moments of “Come Clean” and album closer “To Help a Man” have their bright spots; a little tasteful harmonica flourish here and a sweetly sung chorus there, but too much of Revival Rock
is crunchy power chords that often sounds like the odd lovechild of Stone Temple Pilots and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Strange Fire” is the album highlight with its power ballad heart and escapist fantasy lyrics that have nonetheless been written a time or two before. “Slow Fade”, apes the melody from Joe South’s country soul classic “Games People Play” so thoroughly the band should offer some royalties. Unfortunately it’s probably the most memorable melody on the album.
The musicianship on Revival Rock
is professional and tight and production quality is high. No doubt there is an audience for Sweet Kiss Momma’s brand of rootsy, gut punching rock n’ roll and surely the band has provided many fun Saturday nights full of bourbon and too many beers but without originality its tough to get excited about this release. Ho-hum.