The calendar may claim that summer is over, but a recent record heat wave in Southern California indicates otherwise. But temperatures aside, the season of heat lives on through the sounds of summer love on The Heart of the Nightlife, the debut album from Los Angeles pop band Kisses. Consisting of boyfriend and girlfriend duo Jesse Kivel and Zinzi Edmundson, Kisses are the latest electronic act to be lumped into the chillwave movement.
The Heart of the Nightlife opens with the fittingly titled Kisses, which concisely summarizes the sound and summer atmosphere of the band of its namesake. Retro sounds of 70s disco and 80s Balearic beat combine with contemporary synth pop to transport the listener to a sea town of young love and evoke warm feelings associated with the most innocent of romantic memories. Kivels understated but dulcet style of crooning brings to mind Jens Lekman on Bermuda, the single that introduced the world to Kisses. Kivels syrupy melodies and an irresistible hand-clap beat make Bermuda the catchiest song on The Heart of the Nightlife.
A period of shade from the sunshine that is The Heart of the Nightlife comes with People Can Do the Most Amazing Things, which enters darker territory thanks to its urgently alluring synth rhythm, and on the down-tempo dejectedness of On the Move. Nightlife loses momentum on the unremarkable instrumental title track and the bland retread Lovers, but Weekend in Brooklyn fares better with its infectious beat and backup vocals from Zinzi Edmundson, adding much-needed layers to the sweetness. Kisses show some humor with a promise of a steak dinner to accompany the disco dance of Midnight Lover. The summery vibes of the album culminate on finale Women of the Club, with a steel drum rhythm giving the song a Caribbean island feel.
With its nine tracks clocking in at less than 40 minutes, The Heart of the Nightlife is a short but sweet album about love. Although its flavor might be short-lived and not completely satisfying, Nightlife is an enjoyable sugary treat.