Kiss Kiss are a hard band to describe. Alterna/classical/prog/punk/pop? Is that a genre? Their latest, The Meek Shall Inherit What's Left, shows influences of everyone from King Crimson to Tripping Daisy to Mastodon. The band are Josh Benash (vox/guitar/keys), Jared Karns (drums), Mike Abiuso (vox/guitars/keys), Rebecca Schlappich (violin), and Patrick Southern (bass). Progsheet accosted drummer Jared Karns to take us through the album track by track...
Track 1: The Best Mistake
JK: A mood piece that's deceptively simple, very dark and very heavy. Where the last album took a good minute or two to gather steam, this one comes right out of the gate. A great opening to the album. It's form of ABABC easily lends it to turning into another idea and another song, which it does, which leads us to...
Track 2: Plague #11
JK: The exact opposite of Best Mistake in terms of mood and sounds, but has the running theme of tempo from the previous song, starting at exactly double the tempo. It then has a ton of twists and turns of tempo, meter, dynamics, and everything else, all within two and a half minutes. It's a real mindfuck of a song, and it's tough to play. It's one of my favorite drumming songs, definitely a lot of Brann Dailor (Mastodon) influence in this one.
Track 3: Haunted By The Beauty Of An Imperfection
JK: A breather to break up the dual insanity of Plague #11 and the next song with lots of layered keyboards and things. If you listen closely you can hear Mike screaming bloody murder.
Track 4: All They Draw
JK: One of my favorite songs we've ever written, both to play and as just a song in general, and definitely my favorite on this record. It's been around in different incarnations since before Reality Vs. The Optimist, but it wasn't ready for that record. It's got all the elements - pop form but with a crazy bridge that's a song within itself, kind of like what we did on Cats In Your House on the first record. The intro is kinda punk with an extra 8th note and the verses get sultry and Latin feeling. The end is an extension of the chorus which leads us to wrapping up the song, and the first mini-segment of the record, with a variation on the intro to the song.
Track 5: Innocent Part 1 (The Corruption Of Self Through The Introduction Of Naturally Existing Self Producing Chemicals)
JK: This is kind of the Dress Up of this album. Fast and quirky, it's a parody of the male sex drive. The lyrics may be taken as juvenile, but like I said, it's parody. Another song that connects into another song, as the titles would suggest, it lends would sounds like it's bridge section to the next track...
Track 6: Innocent Part 2 (A Drop From The Ethereal Swimming Towards The Crescent Moon)
JK: What feels like a bridge for the last song is actually it's own song. If you're not paying attention to the track numbers it keeps feeling like it wants to go back into the fast part but never does. We'd rather take you other places on our journey. Lyrically this song juxtaposes it's counterpart in that it's about complete innocence, being a mere fetus about to be born, swimming towards a new life of vice.
Track 7: iiiiiiiiiiiii
JK: An interlude to clear the palette after the barrage of sound that is the end of the last song and kind of divide the album in half. This ends the first arc of an album that feels like it has two arcs, as opposed to the last one, which just had one.
Track 8: Hate
JK: The most obviously quirky, most cinematic song on the record. Definitely lends itself to a video. It's got everything from a drunken circus march to a King Crimson-esque romp to disco and somehow manages to stay in 4/4 through all of it. Finally a Kiss Kiss song you can dance to!
Track 9: Through The Day
JK: A ballad that is anything but. Along with All They Draw, it was one of the first songs we introduced into our live set when we first started writing the record. It starts slow and spacey but quickly changes direction and our Red-era King Crimson influence again becomes apparent. Somehow feels like a wrapped-up-tight pop song even though it's not.
Track 10: If They Only Knew
JK: An ominous and opaque tune. I don't know how to explain it other than that it's punishingly slow, in 6/4 time and has the same form as Best Mistake. It's Josh and Rebecca's favorite on the record. We used a grand piano on the beginning but we've been working on a live arrangement for two guitars. It was originally supposed to be the last song and was going to just end with 5 min. of static, but the end of Virus, the next song, started to get so epic that we decided to cut the static and make that the last song.
Track 11: Virus
JK: Because of it's similar dark mood and deceptively reserved nature, the beginning feels like an epilogue to If They Only Knew, and the album as a whole, similar to how Innocent 2 does for Innocent 1. It quickly becomes its own song though, sprawling into a 15 min. odyssey that's one of the heaviest things we've ever done, in terms of volume and in every other way. The backwards vocals are so creepy in the end, at one point Josh sounds like he's on the back porch with overalls on calling his poor, lost, injured, two-legged sow back home. This is another song we added to the live set early on, only that's the 6 minute version.