Siblings form bands all the time. And in the case of The Beach Boys and The Orwells, cousins join up as well. Parents and kids forming a band are less common. Sure we had The Partridge Family, a TV show loosely based on a real family called The Cowsills, but that was a long time ago.
Now, from New Jersey, comes bitter’s kiss, featuring Chloe Baker and her pops Michael Baker. The band is more of a songwriting project for Chloe, but since dad chips in with guitar, piano, bass, and drums, as well as production duties, he earns band member status.
Vocally Ms. Baker sounds at times like Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer) and at other times like Lana Del Ray, crafting mostly mellow songs that reflect on life in suburbia (she’s from Northern New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from Manhattan). It’s not particularly catchy stuff— at first.
“Waste of it All,” for example, rolls along on a plucked guitar riff, and features a horn bit that provides a wonderful hook. It never kicks into high gear, but it doesn’t need to as Chloe details a failed relationship and her reluctance to end it. The listener is compelled to see how it turns out.
“No One Will” is Americana all the way with its strummed guitar and brushed snare percussion. “I don’t mind watching couples hold hands,” she croons, “I hope their happy, cuz the won’t be in the end.” A buzzkill of sorts, but a breezy sounding one.
Things get darker on “The Rope,” a reflection on the suicide of a distant cousin. Haunting stuff, punctuated by restrained, otherworldly backing vocals breathing the hook “do the angles keep you waiting?”
The synthy “Lovin’ Life” is one of the more up-tempo numbers, but still has a melancholy vibe to to it. It almost sounds like Chloe is being a bit sarcastic. However, she should be lovin’ life as she is a talented young woman with a promising future in the music business.
8 Kisses out of 10
PF Wilson has been writing about music, TV, radio, and movies for over 20 years. He has also written about sports, business, and politics with his work appearing in Cincinnati CityBeat, The Houston Press, Cleveland Scene, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Atomic Ranch, and many more. Check out his podcast PF’s Tape Recorder available from Podbean or in iTunes.