Waiting for a follow up record from Kiss It Goodbye felt like an eternity, and rumors were rampant regarding a single recorded for Seattle based record label Sub Pop; when the band decided to call it quits (prematurely I might add), that single was scrapped by Sub Pop and left unheard until it was released by Revelation (who released the band’s album, She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not…, and the single Preacher b/w Target Practice) a couple of years later. Choke was released as both a seven inch single and as a CD which compiled it and the previous single (as well as one of the songs off of the band’s demo) that Kiss It Goodbye released tying up the band’s discography rather nicely for people to grab, but the two songs that were meant for the single also brought in a new element to the band with the addition of a new guitarist.
Choke represents no real departure from the album (She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not…) by Kiss It Goodbye as the Tim Singer still sounds as manic and crazed as ever and the layered vocals and spatial sound of their attack does add to this aspect of their music (listening to “Choke” Singer’s voice comes at listeners in a variety of tones and timbres throughout and sometimes right on top of each other), and the guitars are still as cutting and discordant (new guitarist Demian Johnston fit the band’s sound like a glove integrating seamlessly while bringing some new sonic textures and subtle sounds to the group) as the band’s previous output (though on the CD version of Choke, there is a difference in the bass guitar sound from the two different recording sessions as on the two songs from the latter session, the bass is much more pronounced); perhaps the unsung hero of Kiss It Goodbye is that of drummer Andrew Gormley’s inventive drumming that while being rock solid and the reason why the band’s music does not go completely off the rails is comprised of interesting patterns (listen to what he does in “Watching Hellraiser” with all the tom rolls and the start and stop rhythms) and timings which also propel the music (every track on the collection just seems more kinetic when you listen to the drums like in “Preacher”).
Not many bands achieve the level of crushing power that Kiss It Goodbye wields, and though they were a short lived unit, they did leave behind some awesome aural documents in their wake that serve as signposts that they were here; Choke may not be as focused sounding as their album but that is the nature of a single (or a collection of singles and demos), and perhaps this less focused material still has all the DNA that made the band’s sound, making Choke every bit as essential as the album while at the same time teasing us further that this awesome single was the last we would ever hear from Kiss It Goodbye.
8.5 / 10
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