Label: San City High Release date: 15/06/09 Website: Kissy Sell Out Myspace Buy: Amazon Kissy, of Kissy Sell Out fame, is many things. Radio 1 DJ, singer/song-writer, owner of awful facial hair. Two out of the above are obviously bad things; luckily his success in a band, in particular this album, are enough to make me forget about his other shortcomings. Youth is high-octane, high pitched, and in certain places high camp. Opening track ‘Through The Leaves’ begins with a fairly manic but very melodic synth build up, with some rumbling bass firming it up well, before Kissy’s voice enters with a ballad-esque tone. It’s not long before he switches to high pitched electro-pop mode, in the same vein as Passion Pit, yet the solid lyrics, sudden bleeps and rapid arpeggios keep up the temp and interest level. For a few tracks the theme is slightly twee, obviously quirky melodic synth-pop. There’s not much here that hasn’t been done before, and done better, nevertheless Kissy’s aptitude for inserting a cohesive narrative into his lyrics ensures it all remains legitimate. Track 6, ‘Bubs N Bizzle’ begins innocently enough that’s for sure. After a minute or so one becomes resigned to the fact that this is clearly an ‘instrumental’ break, and a minute later the beats are thumping thick and fast, the massively flanged (flagellated? Flangefied?!) synths central motif is run through a nice variety of modulators and we have a cheekily heavy, potentially massive dance song on our hands. Or through our feet. Then, again out of nowhere, Justice style dirty bass is introduced and shit becomes banging. A few Kissy conventional tracks then get in the way of things until track 9, entitled ‘Harriet’, which begins with a heavily distorted and delayed mess of synth hits. Satisfyingly distorted bass motifs enter amidst a throng of bloops and high-decay bleeps, and once again it’s not long at all before a huge break-beat monster is unleashed. At this point it’s worth noting that the synth-pop Kissy deals primarily with on this album is solid, satisfying stuff, but it’s in these joyous, melodic but slightly unhinged dance floor bangers (excuse the term) that he really shines. Perhaps the contrast is what makes them so satisfying. Either way Youth is an album that will offer you two different sounds, although depending on your preference it might leave you wanting more of one and less of the other. Hypothetical cynics aside though, this is a solid debut, full of high-intensity electro chic, the occasional massive drop, and luckily, no audible facial hair. Rating: 7/10 MP3: Kissy Sell Out - The Kiss