KISS review – bombast and nostalgia from a slick, monetized hit machine

The Guardian

Pretty much any band who plod on well into their fifth decade will have long ago passed the point of self-parody. This rule of thumb does not apply to Kiss, who splendidly sidestepped the problem by being a masterclass in self-parody from day one.

It’s been 44 years and more than 100m record sales since the face-painted, self-proclaimed “Hottest band in the world” formed in New York City. Yet new music plays little part in their strategy nowadays. They have released two new studio albums since the millennium, preferring to tip out endless greatest hits compilations and milk the world’s nostalgia arena-rock circuit.

That cynicism has blighted the band’s image, with their co-founder, bassist and leader, Gene Simmons, widely perceived as one of the most mercenary figures in rock. Kiss’s marketing philosophy can be best summarized as “If it moves, monetize it”: they may no longer be flogging band condoms or coffins, but you can still pick up a nifty Swarovski Kiss-logo coffee tumbler for a mere £335.

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