KISS ME TIGER - Last Night When We Were Young
In the mid-Nineties, German indie noise rock band Sea Empress released two EPs to some appeal, and then broke up just before the end of the millennium. In 2012 the vocalist, guitarist and bassist met again, after many years playing in their respective bands, and decided to found a new band. With a young drummer on board, Kiss Me Tiger is like the continuation of Sea Empress, but compared to their earlier material, itís clear that these guys have matured tremendously.
I am not too fond of modern day indie rock music, and therefore was hesitant at first to check out Kiss Me Tiger, but after repeated listening sessions, I canít let loose of their mesmerising sound. Centre of attention is of course vocalist Sabine Noss whose voice has improved dramatically over the last twenty years. Her deep and somewhat hoarse performance is quite unique and so different from most other voices. And yet it would be wrong to reduce Kiss Me Tiger to their singer, as the musicians are also quite exceptional. Especially guitar and drums are occasionally unexpectedly fierce.
The opener Walk The Line shows immediately what great songwriters Kiss Me Tiger are. The song comes directly to the point, doesnít waste any time and still features a lot of different parts, even a mellotron moment towards its end, and after not even three minutes, itís already over. The following Because is a five and a half minute long behemoth that starts like a languid ballad, but over time builds up momentum until it becomes a fully-fledged noise rock monster that betrays the bandís Nineties influences. On Keep On, we get the impression as if Kiss Me Tiger are the love child out of wedlock between Nick Drake and Nico. Thereís a sense of melancholy perfusing the album from beginning to end, and while in other circumstances this might sound trite, Kiss Me Tiger manage to pull it off.
There are tons of highlights on Last Night When We Were Young, like the Swedish sounding From Town To Town where Sabine Noss shows that she also perfectly masters the higher registers of her voice. Heart Of Gold is pure indie rock drama with a side dish of Nineties noise rock. Now She Is Awake is another example of the bandís concise songwriting with nods to the Seventies. The Sea So Far comes with distorted vocals and disharmonic guitar parts, just like the following Now Or Never where the interaction between electric and bass guitar reminded me of early Seventies Amon DŁŁl II. And then things go back to mellow with the ballad Part Of, starting with trumpet and male vocals, reminding of Lambchop, and then turning into a wonderfully beautiful duet. The concluding 180 mph is a remake of an old Sea Empress track, showing that these guys can also play grungy punk rock music.
In 2014, Kiss Me Tiger took advantage of the European artist development plan Multipistes which allowed them to record their debut longplayer Last Night When We Were Young all over the Greater Region, starting in their home town SaarbrŁcken, but also in Belgian town LiŤge and even at the Rockhal in Luxembourg. They came up with a homogenous album that still is not in the least monotonous. Twenty years of experience have allowed Kiss Me Tiger to distil everything from noise rock over indie rock to jazzy ballads into their very own sonic cocktail. Those who prefer the Golden Age of indie rock, namely the Nineties, should be absolutely delighted by this timeless piece of art, while the younger generations should check out where their contemporaries have found their influence. This might very well be the indie rock album of the year!