A Review of Kisses and Hugs

Sometimes at WRCT we pick up random albums and just take a listen. We were attracted to Kisses and Hugs’s Positive Youth 1994!!! by its amazing and ridiculous yellow cover featuring a black kitten with a horseshoe, a guy in a ski mask, and — most entertainingly — the band members in action; they are obviously nerds. Below is a transcript of our conversation during our first listen through this album.

Alexander Smith: So midway through the second track, “Genital Ben,” I’m already wondering how this dude’s voice hasn’t given out.

Joannie Wu: Are these dudes playing in Josh Atlas’ basement? ’Cause it looks like it. I honestly don’t hear any kazoo, mandolin, or sax, all of which they credit themselves with playing. Huh.

A: Who knows? Okay, now we’re up to “Holy Shit,” which is like 45 seconds long and actually pretty decent. These songs go by quickly.

J: This is like, super speedcore or something. If you play it at 33 instead of 45 it kind of sounds like nu-metal. Hilarious.

A: There goes the A side. The next track is “Fuck Your Speclogics.” Is that a word? I don’t think it’s a word.

J: “Misplaced Suicide Notes” just sounds like nu-metal in general. It’s kind of funny to read their little blurb on the cover hating on screamo [hardcore emo] because when they actually made the album in 1994 this music was still considered “fresh”…Except they just left it under their beds or something for eight years and then decided to do a 500-copy limited vinyl release. Why do we even own this?

A: ’Cause it obviously rules. Also, half of the “thanks to” section on the back says “RIP” next to it. What the hell?

J: Maybe those are old defunct bands that they knew/were a part of. God, Courier is a bad typeface to use.

A: I’m fairly sure this band doesn’t care about design at all. Look at them. Uh, this next song is a Negative Approach cover. But it sounds the same as all the others. Some of these riffs sound kind of like Slayer.

J: Oh! There’s all that kazoo/mandolin/sax shit. Five seconds’ worth.

A: It was a good five seconds, though. And the last track, “Why Do You Insist I Need College To Validate My Life, Fucker?” is like seven seconds long and has only those lyrics. I like it — strong finish for the record.

J: Amazing. It speaks to me.