Killola - Louder, Louder!

For my money, music tastes fall into three broad genres. You either like a band for their musicality, lyrics, or energy. Killola are the definition of a high-energy band. They’re a group that seizes your attention: you’ll know straight away if you love them or hate them. There’s absolutely no middle ground, it’s one way or another.

Listening to a band for the first time is similar to going on a first date. You want to like Killola, but you’re apprehensive. You don’t want to become attached to something only to realize that it’s not quite what you thought it was, so you’re guarded. But with both music and dating, this problematical “first stage” lasts ten (maybe twelve) seconds. A formative snap judgment goes a long way, and this LA four-piece realize that you only get one chance to make a memorable first impression. So to bring this analogy full circle, imagine yourself waiting quietly, patiently at the bar for your date, Killola, to arrive. Out of nowhere, you hear a slamming door and stampeding footsteps coming your way. Before you even have a chance to turn around, you’re locked in a lip lock for ten (maybe twelve) seconds, with no exit.

This combination of spontaneity, excitement, and aggressive sexuality is evident throughout the span of the album. Opening track, “Barrel of Donkeys,” bursts out of the blocks and sets the pace for ensuing tracks. Combining singer Lisa Reiffel’s distinctive yelps with well-disciplined drums and guitars, it’s the perfect introduction to this group, and serves as an ideal point of reference for budding suitors. Though they mellow out later on in the album (on “I Don’t Know Who” and “It’s All Right”), Killola’s soul is firmly entrenched in stomping guitar pop. And if you don’t get eaten up by their energy, your soul must be trapped in a heart of glass.

OK, that last one was a bad pun too far. You might have noticed that the last phrase in each paragraph has been an explicit Blondie reference. Rock bands with a female lead are perhaps the most afflicted of the many fields stung by what I refer to as the “Curse of the First.” Popular media is famous for pigeon-holing and making generic those things that should be considered unique in society. Every civil rights activist is labeled “the next Martin Luther King,” while basketball prodigies are all “this decade’s Michael Jordan.” This is a lazy journalistic trait that you won’t find in any of my articles (how else could I lay claim to being the modern day Lester Bangs?!?). For whatever reason, all male four-pieces are not necessarily The Beatles, but slap a dress on the singer and BAM… that group is inevitably the “new Blondie.”

I truly hope that Killola can do what No Doubt and Garbage couldn’t and finally break this curse. For one thing, the male majority of the band shouldn’t be cast off to one side just because they are lead by a singer with two X chromosomes. Just as importantly, the bothersome analogy doesn’t do justice to Reiffel’s distinctive vocals, which switch from Betty Boop cuteness to snarling rock chick in an instant. Louder, Louder! is an ode to self indulgence that pins its mast firmly to what the band stands for: high-energy rock music turned up to eleven.

If you give this band a chance, they’ll prove that they’re not the “next Blondie,” but rather, the first Killola. You might even fall in love with them…. which of course means that the only “next” thing you’ll be interested in, is a next date.

--Matty Reville

Louder, Louder! is out now – buy it online here

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