Love Gun


Casablanca Records, 1977

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The rise of Kiss's popularity can literally be traced as you listen to the seminal hard rock group's first few albums. But in a similar vein, one can trace the downfall of Kiss by listening to the post- Destroyer works.

Make no mistake, Destroyer is a killer album. The follow-up, Rock And Roll Over, had some interesting songs, but dipped far too much into the well of filler material. Love Gun, Kiss's 1977 release (and sixth studio effort), showed that the band's vice-like grip on their material had loosened considerably.

Oh, there's still some entertaining material on this disc. The title track is the epitomy of the cock-rock lifestyle these guys have seemed to be all about since day one, but one can't help but smile at this track, in all of its dirty glory. "Christine Sixteen," possibly one of the original songs about jailbait, is infectious enough to keep the melody locked in your brain for far longer than you want it to be. Likewise, "Plaster Caster" combines a powerful groove with an interesting, aah, mental picture of what's going on. (Believe it or not, this song is based in reality - search on the web for stories about Cynthia Plaster Caster. No joke.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Even guitarist Ace Frehley gets into the act with his first lead vocal, "Shock Me". Okay, it's not the best song that Kiss has ever come up with, but it also isn't the worst. For a first effort, not bad - and Frehley would prove in enough time that he could pull off being the front man for a band.

Too bad that this is where the praise for Love Gun abruptly ends. The rest of the album collapses into a "been-there, done-that" mess. On one side, you have songs which are lifting ideas, grooves - cripes, even bits of guitar solos - and repackaging them as new. "I Stole Your Love" is a third-rate "Detroit Rock City"; "Tomorrow And Tonight" tries to be the next "Rock And Roll All Night" anthem, and fails miserably. On the other side, you have an absolutely atrocious cover of "Then She Kissed Me," a song which absolutely, positively, did not have to be remade. (Including a cover on this album seems to suggest that Kiss was running low on creative ideas - like recycling guitar licks wasn't a red flag.)

In the middle of this are songs which, frankly, will never be remembered in the same breaths as the classics. Tracks like "Hooligan," "Almost Human" and "Got Love For Sale" all just dribble from the speakers, making you wonder just what was happening with the band who said that if "you wanted the best, you got the best".

Granted, there's enough material on Love Gun to warrant adding it to your collection, though any of the best-of packages could fill those voids just as easily. As is stands now, Love Gun is the picture of a band who were starting to shoot blanks.

Rating: C

User Rating: B-



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Casablanca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.