Kisses – The Heart Of The Nightlife Album Review

With every one-word, disgustingly pleasant band name, like Houses or Lovers, comes a flood of inferred qualities — those of washed out Polaroid aesthetics, massive synth usage, and healthy doses of male-female vocals. It is almost too convenient, then, that the Los Angeles-based male-female duo Kisses shares all — yes, all — of those same qualities. But unlike the aforementioned bands, the duo’s debut album, The Heart Of The Nightlife, has more than just a couple of good jams. It delivers quality disco pop throughout.


Listen to “Bermuda” – DOWNLOAD MP3

Founded on positive vibes, The Heart Of The Nightlife is actually a bit more than just mindless bobble-head dance fodder. According to vocalist and guitarist Jesse Kivel, “Great pop music is about escape,” and the duo certainly manages to craft an atmosphere suitable for escape. Their melodies, while simple, take listeners to places where beaches and sunshine are just an arm’s length away. The lyrics are deceptively simple as well. When Kivel is singing, “And it’s hard to know what you want/ And it’s hard to say what you’ve got,” the sorrow of confusion seems poorly captured — until one takes a brief moment of contemplation to realize that the lyrics are actually relateable to the core.

What serves to aid the duo’s step away from lame predictability is an obvious dedication to blatant pop music; there are no attempts to shield it beneath mountains of reverb or lo-fi recording tricks. The Heart Of The Nightlife is crystal clear and utilizes simple songwriting structures and arrangements to full benefit. As a debut album, The Heart Of The Nightlife is an impressive release chock full of potential singles. Congratulations to Kisses for going beyond the pre-conceptions which come attached to a band name as puke-worthy as theirs.


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

View all articles
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris Govella
Chris Govella
13 years ago

catchy stuff!

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x