Curse & Kisses
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Curse & Kisses

Orlando, Florida, United States | INDIE

Orlando, Florida, United States | INDIE
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"Orgasmic Rock Review"

he first four songs released by Orlando, Florida artist Curse and Kisses comprise his first eponymous EP. The plural band name is really just one man, Rudy, and he controls the entire output of the “band.” The sound is one of conflict and aggression, almost like shock metal cut with a dusting of progressive rock and funk. Curse and Kisses is over the top, heavily produced, and garish hard rock with an underlying current of sex and glitter that can’t quite outshine the music’s glistening grime.

The densely layered creations have an in-your-face edge that sounds like Rob Zombie’s up close recording style, and the comparisons hardly end there. Rudy fosters a similar vibe of scariness and sensuality. “Stone Cold Freak” is unrepentantly horny, full of twisting guitar riffs, psychedelic touches, and fluid bass grooves. The album’s soul is as firmly entrenched in hell as it is in the heaven of the bedroom or dance floor. The vocals in “Stone Cold Freak” range from Lenny Kravitz-like soul-slinging to fiery growling, and the music also shifts constantly between heavy riffing and delicate funk rock. By the song’s end, though, the flames are licking ever higher. An impassioned female voice wails over a churning maelstrom created by relentless guitars and intense singing.

“Zombie” finds Rudy channeling black metal. With throat-shredding growls and maniacal proclamations like “People that abuse their bodies like you are actually living dead,” he lashes out at drug abusers in a manner that would make his original metal influences proud. There are echoes of Megadeth and King Diamond in Rudy’s lyrical content and vocal delivery and reverberations of Metallica in the steely guitar solos and sludgy riffs. Glam metal and more modern heavy influences find their way into the mix as well. “Blue Eyes” has an intro that positively reeks of hairspray and lyrics that belong in a bubblegum punk number, capped by a theatrical metal finish. There’s even a song called “Curse and Kisses,” and nothing’s more metal than having a song that shares the band name. The song itself is as deliriously, indulgently gaudy as one would expect, full of flashy guitar hijinks and ferocious vocal moments.

As many influences as Curse and Kisses include on this brief EP, it’s still a very niche sound. The constantly careening riffs, bombastic drumming, and psychotic vocal style will immediately polarize listeners. “Stone Cold Freak” is the most accessible tune, yet it will still be a stretch for most to digest. Curse and Kisses isn’t appropriate for every situation, but those looking for youthful, ferociously hormonal release music to crank and rage to will be greatly rewarded.

- Bryan Rodgers


Discography

Curse & Kisses EP 2011

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Bio

Curse and Kisses is a rumbling joy ride of heavy-rock influences, powerful lyrical images and nervy attitude. Put it all together and you have something that front man Rudy Contreras calls “orgasmic rock – rock music that gives you extreme pleasure.”

A hard-driving, straight-talking amalgamation of styles, this Orlando, Florida-based act pulls no punches, either in its subject matter or musical ambitions. As frank as Curse and Kisses so often is about desire, drugs and the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, that “underlying current of sex and glitter” is only out-shined by “the music’s glistening grime,” said music critic Bryan Rodgers. “The sound is one of conflict and aggression, almost like shock metal cut with a dusting of progressive rock and funk.”

Curse and Kisses defies easy categorization, and Rudy – the band’s main producer, singer, songwriter and only official member – would have it no other way: “If you listen to my music,” Contreras says, “it will speak for itself.” He’s just released a varied, endlessly intriguing new self-titled EP of four songs – each of which finds new ways to showcase the band’s unique personality, pile-driving riffs and Rob Zombie-esque combination of the scary and the sensual. “Zombie,” for instance, is a tough-minded song that explores the shattering world of addiction. Curse and Kisses offers no pat answers, however, underscoring both the weaknesses that lead people down that road, and the strength it takes to take a different path: “There are truly haunting moments within this song,” said music critic Rhonda Readence, “and other moments rife with a dark edge.”

Curse and Kisses prides itself on those kinds of ever-shifting musical textures – something that adds an arresting power to its performances. The band can move with fluid ease from heavy riffing to a thunderous groove, then dial the emotion down to a pinpoint with standout tracks like “Blue Eyes,” a unique blending of punk and theatrical metal. Curse and Kisses continues to explore a dark and thrilling sound-scape with the title track, which slows to an almost primordial pace as Rudy opens up heart-wrenching old wounds – very much in the style of Nine Inch Nails or System of a Down.

This kind of musical complexity, as dangerous as it is compelling, has always been a goal for Rudy, who started playing music at age 13 and found his life’s calling: “I can provide aggression and subtlety in one song,” Rudy says. “My music is like a roller coaster.”

Contreras also boasts an impressive vocal range, an important requirement for a singer who’s so emotionally committed to the work. That’s perhaps best heard on the Alice Cooper-inspired “Stone Cold Freak” – a standout track from Cruse and Kisses’ new EP that features everything from “Lenny Kravitz-like soul-slinging to fiery growling,” Rodgers said. Throughout, the passion for music, for his craft, is visceral. Music, Rudy says, “its a natural high thats everywhere, if you listen closely.”

Rudy hears it everywhere, and that feeds into the fervent, unapologetic inventive creativity found throughout Curse and Kisses’ work: “I am real, and here to stay,” Rudy says, “regardless if I make money. Music is why I’m breathing. It’s my life.”