Review: “Safe Word” EP by Kissing Candice

Long Island NY band Kissing Candice were dropped at the back end of 2016 by Victory Records during a label cull. Getting picked up by Attila frontman Chris Fronzak’s label “Stay Sick Recordings” during 2017. The band already have an established sound and fan base after the release of two EPs (“Murder” and “Conjured”), two stand alone singles (“Ghosted” and 2016’s “Taken”) alongside 2015 debut full length “Blinded Until We Burn” so they fit the bill for the type of band that Stay Sick Recordings have been picking up.

“Safe Word” itself is a five track affair that is seemingly on a theme. That theme being insanity. Opening up with “Mirrors” the EP starts the an industrial tone underneath layered vocals between guitarist Dreamer and frontman Joey Simpson. The layering means there is no clear break between one and then the other which works really well. Lyrically themed on demons in the mirror while throwing in several headbanging riffs.

“Hit The Roof” is perhaps the weakest point on the EP. It does grow on you on multiple listens and lyrically is solid but the instrumentation during chorus lacks the power to make it anthemic. Which is strange because elsewhere in the song the music works well. It just lands up feeling slightly disjointed and unfinished, which snacks of poor production.

“(de)Generation” was the video that was dropped in advance of the EP and is a clear pointer to the sound of the EP overall. The song takes the bounce and energy of the bands previous work and throws it into the mix of the be sound.

“Tilt” should probably be renamed “Tilt and whirl”. It’s one of the EPs finer moments, a driving beat and riff around a lyric that takes you on a roller coaster ride through a haunted house of horrors. This is what the band do best. Build up the insanity slowly before releasing the driving riff and chorus or breakdown. It’s a solid song if slightly unhinged.

“Unravelled” is a pointer at a broken relationship. It’s a far more straightforward song than the rest of the material here with 90% of the vocals being clean and coming from Dreamer. It’s not until the closing moments which Joey’s uncleans come in and actually make the song for me. If that closing sound had been eeked out for another 60 seconds or so it would be killer.

Kissing Candice have stripped back their guitar sound just a little bit to make room in the mix for more electronics from Frontman Joey Simpson. The EP has a cold industrial feel to it that harks back to the likes of Mushroomhead‘s “Saviour Sorrow” for example. We have more clean vocals from guitarist Dreamer. We have a more percussive drum sound than the band have used previously. During the pre-release talk, the band said they had torn up their previous writing process, which instrumentally is evident. It’s a far more dynamic approach from the band and while it works for the most part, there are a few weak points. [4/5]


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