Kix – Rock Your Face Off – Album Review

Kix – Rock Your Face Off – Released August 5th, 2014

steveKix is back in action and just as wild and fun as ever with their long-awaited release, Rock Your Face Off. If you’ve tried other recent releases from some 80s bands and found them a little flaccid, believe me when I tell you that Rock Your Face Off lives up to its name. Cracking Billboard’s Top 50 out of the gate and receiving great reviews from fans and music writers alike, Kix will take you back to where you left off in 1989 and keep you shaking your ass through all 12 tracks.

Ask any 80s rock fan to name their favorite party bands, and undoubtedly they will name Kix in the lineup. Rock Your Face Off proves they haven’t lost their drive to deliver power house, high energy rock and roll. Maine Music News saw Kix perform during the Monsters of Rock Cruise in April 2014, and the show was a highlight of the 20 plus shows we caught on the ship. Steve Whiteman and the rest of the band thrilled the crowd and had them wanting more. Featured in the set list were two new songs, “Can’t Stop the Show” and new single, “Love Me With Your Top Down.” Both songs were immediately well-received by fans, and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the new release.

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Kix, who reunited in 2003, has maintained nearly all the original members with Steve Whiteman on vocals, Brian Forsythe and Ronnie Younkins on guitars, and Jimmy Chalfant on drums. Mark Schenker, on bass, joined up in 2003 to replace Donnie Purnell. With all members having a hand in the writing of the new songs, and joined by songwriter and producer Taylor Rhodes, Kix found their lucky charm once again.

Rock Your Face Off is thick with influence from AC/DC and good old bluesy rock and roll. This new music is certainly familiar and the flavor is straight up Kix. We had to go back and dig out the old Kix to make sure we weren’t imagining things, and we were right – Whiteman’s vocals are great, maybe even better than ever. Production methods, a lot has changed in nineteen years, this time around create a wonderful, crisp feel that pops each band member’s performance and layers the compositions without creating fuzz. I suggest you grab a copy of Rock Your Face Off, go for a drive, sit back, and float through the music – pick out the bass lines, fall into the guitar riffs, and then get caught up in the determined, but never overpowering, drum work. jimmy

Here’s a quick track by track run down:

Without a doubt, the music on Rock Your Face Off caters to the live show, a Kix specialty, and they waste no time easing fans into the CD with “Wheels in Motion,” ultimately the first new music heard from the band in nearly 20 years. This song rattles every nerve in your head, in a nice way, and confirms there is no rust here – it’s all chrome. Down shifting slightly for “You’re Gone,” we get to dive into Whiteman’s vocals and go for a bluesy ride of regrettable love – “… I wish I could erase you instead…” Catchy, playful lyrics, a Kix specialty, are in no short supply here. The anthemic “Can’t Stop the Show,” a song I can’t seem to get enough of, is a humorous list of clichés cleverly stacked one on top of another beside a great, driving beat. I love it. The innuendo filled “Rollin’ in Honey” leaves no doubt that the naughty boys of Baltimore are back!

Full of variety, “Rock Your Face Off” features a crashing, almost punk beat, and “All The Right Things” takes us down to the Delta and right back into smooth 80s pop rock. “Dirty Girls,” a follow up for their fan favorite “Dirty Boys,” could have been written 25 years ago and will still make fans put their fists in the air. “Inside Outside Inn,” an acoustic-flavored heart-felt break in the pace before the crashing “Mean Miss Adventure” takes off for another round of energized rock.

Musically, the innuendo saturated “Love Me With Your Top Down” makes use of everything that was good about this genre and maintains that fine line between naughty and rude. Closing down the twelve song line up with “Tail on the Wag” and “Rock and Roll Showdown,” the band stays strong through to the very end with groovy rhythm, effects, and riffs to keep fans air guitaring all night long.

Here’s hoping that the release of Rock Your Face Off means that fans will be treated to a nation-wide Kix tour coming to a venue near you. These songs are great from the studio, but they are going to be even better from the stage. Welcome back, Kix. It’s been far, far too long but well worth the wait.

About the author

Ann James Joles

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You’ll know her when you see her – Ann is probably the only person at a live show scribbling down notes and guarding a camera case. With a long time career in higher education behind her, she is more at home at a rock show with screaming fans than in an office.