There is hype, and there is genuine excitement about some bands. And it is fair to say that it is often difficult to tell which is which without making the effort to find out for yourself.
So, after hearing the band mentioned by a few other bands, and online in various places, I picked up a couple of tracks on eMusic (currently a big fan of Neon Girls in particular), and quickly started looking for the next show to catch them at.
Which happened to be this. The Buffalo Bar is not a big venue, and so even with fifty or sixty people in there, it felt a little cosy. And before HKK came on, I got to see Heretics – the first so-called “Witch House” act I’ve come across in the UK. The term was dropped a lot while I was in Canada, without anyone being able to explain what it sounded like, and while it was initially a joke, as these things often do, it stuck. And if Heretics are Witch House, I’m done with this already. Slow, droning electronic beats with murmured vocals? For half an hour, without any real tune? Oh.
Thankfully HOLD KISS KILL are not Witch House, or any other joke genre. Instead, they are a band who have taken the shoegaze idea, and twisted it in ways that other bands are not doing. So rather than slowing the pace, or drowning their sound in electronics and samples, they’ve quickened the pace. So most of their songs have a breakneck pace, that they then drench in reverb and glorious layers of guitars. They haven’t forgotten tunes, either, with a nice interplay between the male and female (lead) vocalists.
And it would appear that they have a lot of quality songs to choose from, as recent single Neon Girls (and one of my favourite tracks of the year so far) was surprisingly omitted from the set. The highlight was No Quick Exit (I think that’s the one) that enters proceedings with a brute of a drum rhythm, and is a sub-three minute blast of pretty noise. Talking of noise, one thing this band do understand well is that this kind of sound – multi-layered, with a whole lot of power – needs to have a clear setup, and be REALLY FUCKING LOUD. And in the small environs of the Buffalo Bar, this was met with ease.
I hate making predictions – particularly as I have a slightly patchy hitrate on this kind of thing – but I’d love this band to get greater success than small venues like this. Their savage sound might put a few off, but their fresh take on an old idea is a thrilling one, and the band simply oozed confidence onstage. Confident in their abilities, and confident that they have a batch of kick-ass songs. Here is to hearing more of them, and soon.