[12 January 2009]
Montreal’s the Silly Kissers are making the type of perfect ‘80s synth-pop that can only be made in the late 2000s. All songs are written and produced by the song writing duo of David Carriere and Sean Nicholas Savage and they perform the songs with vocalist Jane Penny and three others. The songs are almost always focused on love; whether it’s love lost, strong love, sad love, all love facets are covered here from male and female perspectives, and at times in a single song (that’s right: lovers’ duets). It seems that only with the passing of 25 years can the synth-pop genre be fully utilized in a stripped-down and self aware format.
Admittedly, this band is not really breaking new ground, but are creating keyboard-based pop music focused on the most salient and enjoyable aspects of the genre: interesting instrumentation and infectious hooks. The lyrical content often takes a back-seat to the hooks, and borders on the cliché cheesiness you’d expect from genre pioneers like the Human League, but the evident obviousness allows guilt-free appreciation. This is not to say that they’re insincere; the content that they touch upon is standard for any genre, but the abandon with which they tackle their theme is a tip of the hat to their predecessors. And there certainly isn’t any tongue in cheek in their delivery.
Carriere and Savage both have other projects (The World Book and Sean Nicholas Savage) that share similarities, but this band seems like an outlet for their pure pop tendencies. The densely layered synths, drum machines and keyboards on their debut LP Love Tsunami are both readily accessible and incredibly interesting. On first listen one might write it off as retread but with more focus, this is a studied and skillfully crafted album. Sharing similarities with Depeche Mode, New Order, Kate Bush and others, they manage to create something that really stands out. Many vocal melodies are original and all are catchy, creating the kind of tunes you will hear once and hum to yourself for days. On songs like “You Broke My Heart”, “You’re the One” and “Stethoscope”, the vocals stick out with mind-blowing melodies that are matched by infectious instrumentation.
These guys are basically unknown outside of Montreal, only recently releasing an official CD with a cover and track listing. If they can continue with this consistency (and judging by the output of Carriere and Savage’s side projects, it seems like there no shortage of ideas), replicate the CD live, and do some touring, there will be nothing holding this band back from gaining a huge fan base. You can’t argue with skillfully crafted pop that will have you dancing with yourself.