Gotta hand it to â??em -- the Horrorpops have been incredibly consistent. Able to bridge the gap between the relatively esoteric punk subgenre of psychobilly with mainstream pop sensibilities for three straight albums, Horrorpops have done so with what seems like ease, though the all-star cast they've boasted throughout the years probably doesn't hurt.
At the forefront (errâ?¦somewhere behind the upright bass) is Patricia Day, the trilingual Danish hellcat who packs more venom and charisma than all of Go Betty Go combined. Displaying not only a voice and allure placed perfectly for the musical backdrop, Day's proficiency on the standup complements her husband, Kim Nekroman's (of the Nekromantix), guitar playing while providing the music's trademark click-thump-click distinctiveness. Though no longer with the inclusion of Tiger Army bassist Geoff Kresge on rhythm guitar, Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill doesn't feel like it's lacking anything.
Interestingly enough, the album seems to follow the trend of the Nekromantix's latest album by way of increasingly impressive guitar playing that's at the same time dynamic and grabbing, while rooted in the finest traditions of rock and roll, surf rock and rockabilly. Though Nekroman is on the six-string with Horrorpops instead of the upright bass as he is with Nekromantix, the surf-tinged opener "Thelma & Louise" showcases more developed guitarwork than ever before, while "Copenhagen Refugee" features the fret-play of a `50s rock and roll style.
While overall laying claim to better musicianship and perhaps a bit of a more diverse range of sounds, Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill lacks the immediate hooks packed in Hell Yeah's offerings like "Where they Wander" and "Girl in a Cage." The best moment on the album comes courtesy of biting English ska legends Madness in the song "Missfit" as Day threatens cheerily "My fist: in the middle of your face" to the tune of "Our House" right before a wicked kazoo solo. "Heading for the Disco" not only features an amusing music video, but some of the best lyrics any psychobilly band has ever laid down, as Day sings "I don't get why anyone would wanna dress up as an `80s whore." Speaking to the album's diversity, the title track seems to channel a bit of Depeche Mode's austerity, while the almost ballad-like "Hitchcock Starlet" gives off an atmospheric glow nearly akin to something closer to Joy Division than the Meteors.
Though it probably won't win over many of those critical of the band's first two releases, Kiss Kiss, Kill Kill proves that Horrorpops' success is no accident. With the ability to churn out three quality full-length doses of psychobilly pop-punk, Horrorpops have rightfully earned their place among the Hellcat mainstay.