Let me begin with a warning. If you are a bad kisser, you should probably just avoid this album altogether. Your technique should be at least average or higher, if you are to consider listening to this music, or even reading this review. (But more on that later.)
Okay! Let’s get into this! I found this marvelous four-song EP that was produced by two bands, featuring two songs each from Wet Mut and Squitch, who both hail from America’s upper right-hand region. And it’s just the kind of music that makes the day go by quicker. This is not rainy day rock; this is happy road trip music.
Both bands are excellent examples of gender equality, meaning that they have a balanced amount of representation amongst its members. And good for us! Based upon the musical results, it sounds like they are having a metric boatload of fun.
The first two songs come from Squitch, a Boston three-piece that has tapped into the indie rock reservoir and made a quilt out of it. Chamomileon is a strangely happy math rock showpiece that twists and turns its way to the breakneck finish. This is a great starter, and it gives the band ample opportunity to flex their songwriting muscles. Wrong Bones is a jaunty, stop/start number that reminds me of several garage rock bands of the late nineties, perhaps a bit of The Presidents of the United States of America, or even a happier version of Nirvana in their lighter moments.
The last two songs are from New York’s Wet Mut, and according to the internet, sort of has a different line up on each project. The Swimmer is a somber then joyful 6/8 episode that is defined by Zuzia Weyman’s unique vocals. The double tracking only underscores a bizarre and haunting performance, and the words – I think they are actual words – add a circus quality to the already quirky accompaniment.
The finale is called Bad Kisser, and this is the one I warned you about. Multi-instrumentalist Ian Faria takes the reins on lead vocals, and all I can say is that his voice is perfect for this track. It’s a rollicking beer-drinking song with a structure not far removed from a limerick. The sweet guitar parts are creatively complex, and the lyrics are brilliantly disgusting as Ian goes into great detail as to your smooching abilities, or lack thereof. As a whole, the song is stickier than industrial adhesive and will not leave your brain long after you stopped listening to it.
[Side note: ‘Sticky’ is an adjective I’ve been trying to integrate into the vernacular of musical descriptors. Should it merely be used in concert with jams and petroleum products? I say it should not. Help a brother out, and please consider incorporating this way of describing music you enjoy and find to be memorable.]
In this age ruled by digital, synth-heavy electronica, this album is a welcome throwback. A real drummer hitting actual drums still stands out and brings so much life to a recording. It’s good to be reminded that music can be this much fun. This all-too-brief album recalls my indie rock roots and made me want to hear more from both bands. I stuck it on repeat as I ran errands and found it to be an excellent soundtrack to my Wednesday.
However, I would be remiss without also telling you that I was awakened at 4:47 am Thursday morning, panic-stricken and breathless – and not just because I have sleep apnea – it was a nightmare. Every woman that I was ever interested in, or would ever be interested in, was rejecting me because my kissing skillz were subpar. And the soundtrack to this repeated scenario was the aforementioned album closer. The song had wormed its way into my subconscious, and imprinted this new and devastating insecurity on top of all the others.
Luckily, I was able to awaken and console myself with facts. Unsolicited, the few romantic pursuits of the previous decade had all described my kissing abilities in the superlative, and even if I am not on speaking terms with any of them – so a letter of recommendation would be out of the question – I still know what they said, despite the lack of evidence to convince anyone else. I am not going to remain single for the rest of my days because I am a bad kisser. I am actually an excellent kisser; my singlehood will only continue because of all the other reasons.