This is a milestone post for this blog and Kid Gulliver. Today, the Boston power pop standouts join the F & L ten-timers club — which is especially impressive considering that my first KG review was only a little more than three years ago! Basically this means that this band has released a lot of great music over the past few years, and that continues with a new mini-album called Kiss & Tell. As you may recall, "Kiss & Tell" was also the name of an excellent single released early this year. The album release coincides with a brand-new single titled "Because of You."
As always, new music from Kid Gulliver means we power pop fans are in for a treat. I continue to be blown away by the way songwriter/guitarist David Armillotti and lead singer Simone Berk excel as a creative partnership. It can't be easy to trust another person to voice your deepest, darkest thoughts. And it can't be easy to sing another person's words as if they were your own. Yet for these two, this creative approach produces pure gold. Both artists do their finest work yet on this album. While I won't quite call this a concept album, a lot of Armillotti's lyrics are brutally realistic and deeply reflective in examining the trials and tribulations of adult love. There are not a lot of "uppers" on this album. But let's be real: if romantic love always went smoothly, power pop music might not need to exist! This is an album filled with wonderfully bitter pop songs which are fully realized musically, lyrically, and vocally. Songs like "You're Gonna Cry" and "You've Lost Your Shine" are pretty much what you'd expect based on the titles. "Because of You" is the complete opposite. It has to be a sweet love song, right? To the contrary, it's about regretting the person you've become due to love. This track, which alternates between a driving power pop verse and a dreamy chorus, was a fine choice for the album's third single (following "Kiss & Tell" and "Nothing But Trouble"). What really ties the album together, though, is that Armillotti is a master at writing perfect pop songs and Berk is a master at singing them. If you like well-crafted, melody-driven songs with plenty of guitar punch, you have come to the right place. "I've Got a Picture of You" is jangly power pop at its most beautifully bittersweet. "I Like Your Hair" could pass for a long-lost Bangles hit. If there were actually a power pop textbook, "(You're a) Living Lie" would be in it.
Self-produced by Armillotti and Berk, Kiss & Tell is a nifty little album from one of the power pop world's most prolific and consistent bands. I look forward to writing another ten Kid Gulliver reviews and then some!