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Kix: Reissues

Get your fix of 80s Kix.

Kix are the unsung heroes of 80s American arena rock. That they failed to consistently reach the platinum-plated peaks of rivals such as Ratt and Mötley Crüe is the cause of considerable consternation. The Maryland quintet had a magnetic frontman in Steve Whiteman and a set of top tunes (file ’em under ‘sleaze’n’roll’) that were every bit as good as those of their peers.

Maybe their image was the problem. While other groups were bouffing it up big time, Kix looked rather uninteresting in their Brutus denim jackets and Specsavers shades. Still, that doesn’t stop their third album, 1985’s Midnite Dynamite (810) from being an unqualified corker. With Ratt producer Beau Hill adding a glossy sheen to the roughneck sonics, celebratory anthems Red Hot (Black & Blue) and Bang Bang (Balls Of Fire) detonate in your ears like party poppers laced with nitroglycerine.

Blow My Fuse (810) came out in ’88, and you only have to check the title of the opening track – Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT – to realise you’re in for a similarly explosive treat. The record also spawned a rare hit: power ballad Don’t Close Your Eyes, which reached the No.8 in the US.

Remarkably, Kix have just released a brand new album, Rock Your Face Off, which shows there’s still plenty of life left in these dirty dawgs.

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.