In 2005, rock act Kids In The Way upped the ante by releasing Apparitions Of Melody, a distinctly more mature and aggressive collection of songs than their 2003 debut. Now two years, a rerelease, and a few personnel changes later, Kids delivers a more straight up rock album sans any filler with A Love Hate Masquerade. But while nearly every track is anthem material, offering infectious hooks and memorable choruses, thematically the record is a bitter and dark examination of love, lust, and relationships.
While Apparitions... had a dark element to it, A Love Hate Masquerade takes it even further. Opening with the infectious "Your Demon," Kids In The Way establish the album's "love / hate" theme dealing with relationships with a sour outlook, "I feel it / Your demon / I see the daggers coming from your eyes / And they cut right through me." Yet, like with several of the album's tracks, the band inserts a bit of hope into the mix, even if it's only subtle, concluding the intro song with "Life on the high is your alibi / And I'm tired of you running from the truth." Songs like "Better Times," "The Innocence," and "Letting Go" deal almost exclusively with love and love lost, while musical highlights like "Sugar" and "My Little Nightmare" are especially catchy but ultimately fiercely bitter examinations of relationships gone awry. "Sugar," although another standout track on the record, is anything but sweet, "Everybody run, everybody run / She looks so sweet when she's having fun / Everybody run, everybody / The homecoming queen has got a gun," while "My Little Nightmare" states, "There's no time, for falling apart / I need you like a bullet to the heart / So long, so you say." Many who listen to the album who've experienced heartache due to a romantic relationship at some point in their life will undoubtedly be able to relate to the feelings displayed here, with each reference calling to mind a feeling they once have felt or are currently. But a feel-good record this is not, and as strong as it is from start to finish, the dynamic that songs on Apparitions brought, especially in "This Could Be The Song That Will Change Your Heart," "Breaking The Legs of Sheep," and "Safety in the Darknes," is on a whole missing here.
Most records have a moment where you feel like the band may have defaulted for a couple merely passable tracks to stuff near its finish to complete the album, but musically, A Love Hate Masquerade remains firm throughout. "Winter Passing," a song inspired by the indie film of the same name starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel, is a driving rock track dripping with emotion. "We Kill At Twilight" is destined for replay in your head long after listening and the album finale, "Farewell" addresses death and the hope to reunite with a loved one in Heaven some day. The album's closing words are lasting ones, "Cross my heart, hope to die / I will see you on the other side / Hallelu, hallelu." Of Kids' three albums to date, David Pelsue's voice has never sounded better, trading in his throat-shredding screams adopted on Apparitions for moody vocals throughout ("Fiction," originally from The Dead Letters rerelease of Apparitions Of Melody is really the only place where they appear here).
While A Love Hate Masquerade is a big album musically, one that won't be likely to leave the player too soon after acquisition, it seems rather paperthin in spiritual substance. One of the better rock records to come around this year, Kids In The Way are headed in the right direction stylistically, churning out a series of memorable songs, but don't expect this masquerade through the heartaches and ups and downs of love to be an uplifting or spiritual journey.- Review date: 9/14/07, PReviewed: 8/15/07, written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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