Bitter’s Kiss is the debut album of the eponymous New Jersey-based indie pop duo. The band is a family affair made up of father-daughter combo Michael and Chloe Baker, and was created primarily as a vehicle and showcase for Chloe.
The album is mostly a mellow affair. Opener Bitter’s Kiss’ laid back groove and smooth guitar ooze chill-out, and the song sets the tone for the whole album.
Waste of It All picks things up with a waltzy rhythm which, I have to admit, works surpisingly well with the delicate vocals. The atmosphere is however dialed down to mellow again with Love Won’t Make You Cry and stays mostly there for the rest of the album, with few exceptions.
The instrumentation is definitely the strong point of the album. Michael Baker’s experience and creativity shine through and he manages to pull off some pretty interesting ideas here. Case in point are the intro synth on Lovin’ Life, with its 90s techno vibe, and the string arrangements on lead single The Rope.
Chloe Baker’s voice is also full of raw potential – delicate but surprisingly powerful and mature, given her youth. At her best, she can sound both melancholy and uplifting at the same time.
When Bitter’s Kiss get it right, the result is a unique and creative sound. The title track, with its soaring chorus, The Rope and No One Will are standout tracks that showcase the duo’s potential to the fullest.
Where the album fails to meet expectations is that there are simply not enough hooks and variety of atmosphere to keep the listener interested. At a certain point, the songs start to blend together. Chloe Baker’s voice can also sound a bit generic and her delivery can feel stilted (Lovin’ Life comes to mind).
With perseverance and proper guidance, however, these difficulties can surely be ironed out in time for the next release.