It must be all the sunshine that makes it hard for kids in L.A. to be too angst-ridden. The perfect weather lifts their spirits, or something, and it’s doing the same for Kisses’ Kids in L.A.
Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson spent their last record, The Heart of the Nightlife, reveling in their love. Now they’re wallowing in rich kid problems, or trying to, anyway. It’s not going to hit you like Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids.” But if they missed a chance to make a darker point, they’ve captured something else in the process.
The clattering drum machines, moody atmospherics and ‘80s-pop synths — plus Kivel’s soft-around-the-edges vocals — are the sound of that feeling in between happy and depressed. Everything’s really great, but unsatisfying. “Up All Night” is the most innocuous all-nighter and “Funny Heartbeat” seems a lot more pleasant than heartbreak, but Kisses hook you anyway.
It’s a testament to their songwriting. There’s nothing particularly emotionally compelling about “Huddle,” but the melody and snap in the rhythm are enough to bring you back for another listen.
So, maybe Kisses got a hold on something very true in Kids in L.A. (at least for some of the title population). It’s not very exciting, but it’s warm and pretty.