Dusted Reviews

The Holy Kiss - Shot Love on a Back Line

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: The Holy Kiss

Album: Shot Love on a Back Line

Label: Release The Bats

Review date: May. 10, 2007

Hailing from San Francisco, The Holy Kiss see their first proper full-length release from Sweden's Release The Bats label. Since the album's release, the band's lineup has changed and expanded, but here we have a trio led by singer-guitarist Matty Rue Morgue with bassist Dawn Hillis and drummer Nick Ott, who also contributes some essential piano and organ on a few songs.

With songs like "Love Left Me," "Mortician's Suit Drag," and the title track (not to mention the singer's name), The Holy Kiss immediately broadcast their intentions, and they follow through with 11 songs of well-honed grimy blues. Their whiskey-soaked Southern gothic music draws inevitable comparisons, from a clear Nick Cave influence to others like the sadly-unknown Valentine 6, Firewater and Black Heart Procession.

Much of the band's sound is due to Rue Morgue's slide guitar, which here scatters fuzz-laden notes into every nook and cranny, and there chimes quietly in a dimly-lit atmosphere. The vocals are well-suited to the sound, quavery when singing "I sailed through tears and sweat only to find the mast of his lost galleon breathing down my neck" ("Mr. Bones") and frayed as he calls out, "Now my heart's moved on / But my name will haunt as pain and lost regret" ("Love Left Me"). Hillis' bass is strong and solid and with Ott's powerful drumming, the pair provide the necessary foundation for the guitar as it sparks and careens through the songs.

Shot Love on a Back Line is often raucous and rollicking, but when they slow it down, the trio don't lose their way. The brief interpretation of Satie's "Gymnopedies: III, Lent" with drummer Nick Ott's piano works very nicely, and the stately "Mr. Bones" follows, a particularly nice piano-led song with drums that burst in halfway through to good effect.

The Holy Kiss don't break much new ground, but Shot Love on a Back Line is a strong reminder that new ground is often over-rated, when there's still room for solid songs like these.

By Mason Jones

Read More

View all articles by Mason Jones

Find out more about Release The Bats

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.