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Album review: Kiss' 'Sonic Boom'

October 6, 2009 |  5:33 pm

Kiss It's amazing that another rock band thought of selling its new album through a big-box retailer before Kiss did: If these greasepaint glam gods didn't invent the notion of pop-as-commodity, they definitely perfected it. Some 35 years after the band's debut album, they're back selling a fresh studio disc exclusively through Wal-Mart, where you'll presumably find "Sonic Boom" stocked near the toilet paper and the Pop-Tarts.

Perhaps there's a discount if you buy more than 10 copies at a time.

Not surprisingly, given Kiss' bigger-is-better ethos, "Sonic Boom" is actually more than just a new studio album -- it's a three-disc package that also includes a rerecorded greatest-hits set and a live DVD, all for $12. That works out to about one riff for every 10 cents, pretty reasonable, even during a recession.

The 11 new songs, Kiss' first since 1998's "Psycho Circus," hardly deviate from the band's time-proven formula. That means whoa-whoa-whoa vocal chants, thundering arena-rock grooves and many, many suggestions from Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons that the women in Kiss' audience -- that women anywhere, really -- are wearing more clothing than they need to.

Will any of these tracks make the next greatest-hits set Kiss is sure to release in a couple of years? It seems unlikely; nothing here is as catchy as "Rock & Roll All Nite" or "Detroit Rock City," both of which still sound insanely great when Kiss plays live.

See for yourself when the band hits Staples Center on Nov. 25.

-- Mikael Wood

"Sonic Boom"
Two stars