One of the more idiosyncratic Milwaukee albums of 2017 was Ravi/Lola‘s Shape Up Shoulders, a swirling concoction of candy-colored psychedelia and blissed-out Sunday-morning pop. It was yet another winning collaboration between frontman Casey Seymour and percussionist Nick Wieczorkowski—both of whom take their music in a decidedly different direction with their latest project, Kiss Critique. So long, baroque psychedelic pop; hello minimal electro-pop and tongue-in-cheek songs about fame and looking good.
Kiss Critique’s debut album, Allegations, finds Seymour and Wieczorkowski taking on new identities (“Boy Lonely” and “Nick Sickly,” respectively) and serving up 11 tracks of sparse, mod-ish gentleman pop. The group’s backstory reads thusly:
Kiss Critique is Boy Lonely and Nick Sickly. Once upon a moment, Lone was suffering from vertigo and the mental illness it created. Sick was suffering from love, or the lack thereof. To quell this darkness, Sick bought a synth and drum machine, asked Lone to get well with him. They played together. Sick & Lone took in the sounds as the room spun for months.
Convinced he was near death, Lone expelled words of love, fame, illness, clothes, sex…The partner’s first recordings were stolen when Lone’s computer was lifted from his flat. This happening introduced a new kind of darkness. A darkness of inspiration. They persisted, writing and writing, as they both longed for a moment without suffer.
There’s a lot to love about Allegations: the winking nods to vanity and fame in “As If” (“These looks will never fade / I want to please in every way, all day”), the kaleidoscopic clamor of “Elephant Swing,” the sexy spy vibe of “Locked Out,” the Of Montreal playfulness of “Love Surgery,” and the glitched-out clang of “Pieces.” “Please take a picture with me” sings Seymour on one of the album’s most infectious songs, “Prom.” It’s a plea that reads as both self-aware and self-obsessed, a fine summation of Kiss Critique itself.
Seymour and Wieczorkowski will celebrate the digital release of Allegations Friday, January 12 at High Dive, with Lauryl Sulfate And Her LOL and Economy Superstar playing in support. The show is being billed as Kiss Critique’s “one and only show.” Until then, listen to Allegations now, only at Milwaukee Record.