Kiss & Tell (RCA)
by Mike Delano
At the top of the heap of the best rock records this year, this gem is the sweet sister piece to Sahara Hotnights‘ 2001 killer, Jennie Bomb. If that record was the perfect successor to The Hellacopters’ Payin’ the Dues, this time around, the girls have reigned in their raw aggression just a little for the sake of tighter arrangements, better vocals, and a little hip-shakin’.
These four don’t fool around, cuz they just don’t have the time. No ballads, no freaky jams, no 24-second intro tracks, just another 11 cold classics. Having perfected the form, they set themselves free in the colored ball pit of fun that is the details. A little disco dance creeps its way into “The Difference Between Love and Hell,” a little Sleater-Kinney in the riff of “Hangin’.” Maria Andersson has perfected her vocal delivery to the sweetest of howls and the most alluring of purrs (aided this time around by some stellar back-up vocals), and she still writes a damn fine rock song with seemingly little exertion. The Hotnights are three records in and they haven’t missed yet.