Don’t let the opening track of Rock Bottom fool you.
If you’re expecting those blasts of distortion the Kiss Offs deliver as a matter of course, you won’t find them all that much on “Let Me Find the Good in You.”
And unfortunately, it leaves the impression that the Kiss Offs have gotten bored with what they do. Far from it.
Rock Bottom continues the dischordant but melodic pop-punk the Kiss Offs wonderfully birthed on 1999’s Goodbye Private Life. “Let Me Find the Good in You” somehow doesn’t channel the energy of subsequent tracks, even though it probably could have.
But after that initial hump, the nine-track album hits the stride of its thoroughly enjoyable predecessor, and it feels good. Damn good.
“Broken Fingers for Talented Singers” is an sweet ode to rock music that’s both obtuse and hook-y. “We Can Work It Out” gets a thorough high-speed workout, while “Mmm Mmm Mmm” sounds as good as its title implies.
Those 1 1/2-minute ditties on Goodbye Private Life have matured into three-minute confections on Rock Bottom. The album even concludes with “Pleather Pantz,” a seven-minute epic divided into four parts (not like its apparent in the song itself).
Katey Jones and Philip Niemeyer provide their trademark vocal interplay, but with the songs’ lyrics moving away from matters of the groin, the pair aren’t given as much opportunity to play with each other, so to speak.
Regardless, the Kiss Offs’ growly, buzzing guitars still growl and buzz, and Rock Bottom is a nice conclusion to the band’s literally fiery career.