Self-titling their genre as “slop-pop” or “trash-pop” is just a charade. Denver’s Kissing party knows exactly what they’re doing and adding dismissive, self-loathing adjectives to their style is just that old axiom of artist’s tightly hugging their security blanket by saying their work sucks, when they know it really doesn’t. Honestly, it’s a little douchey of them — which is ironic, considering that famed Denver musician/dj and NPR, Pitchfork contributor Jason Heller brilliantly said of Kissing Party “Among this city’s douchebags and fashion victims, there’s still a place for purity. Enter Kissing Party.”
From the opening notes of Mom & Dad, the group’s dreamy, lo-fi power-pop gems vary from echoey, boozy ballads to two-minute pop symphonies. For band founder Gregg Dolan, Mom & Dad feels like a 31-minute opus — everything he’s ever wanted to say in a record. From Ohio basements, to grey Pennsylvania days, these songs are an ode to suburban life, an extension and elevation of the band’s scrappy, DIY, day-to-day — debt, regret, heartbreak, hair-dye, and all.
Even at its dreamiest moments though, the record manages to get very real indeed. Singer Deidre Sage explained, for example, that the track “Jimmy Dean,” which oozes a cheerful, bouncy pop vibe is actually much darker in reality. “It’s about being stalked around the neighborhood by creeps, feeling unsafe in ‘safe spaces’ and what it’s like being ‘the girl in the band’ in 2019 when it feels like women’s rights are stuck in 1819,” Sage said.
Mom & Dad portrays the moments of small-town life; finding yourself, finding others, making it through the day. The combination of airy, wistfully hopeful lyrics and jangly, crunchy guitars make for a perfect encapsulation of the DIY indie sound.
Like their predecessors, Galaxie 500, Mazzy Star or Beach House, Kissing Party makes it sound easy, almost effortless, but after a slew of releases, including their debut Rediscover Lovers, which was named on The Denver Post’s best albums of the year in 2007, the group has refined, and according to The AV Club, “perfected making straight ahead, two-minute pop songs.”