INXS
Kick


4.0
excellent

Review

by DariusBlue USER (7 Reviews)
October 18th, 2007 | 44 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: INXS' critical and commercial peak is an excellent dance-rock hybrid with tough rockers and affecting ballads and every band member producing something special.

Produced by Chris Thomas
UK chart: 2
US chart: 3

The death of Michael Hutchence in 1997 cast a shadow over INXS' career and despite genuine attempts at re-capturing their mid-1980's peak, they are a band without the non-musical soul Hutchence provided. Frankly, his tragic demise was a full stop on a lingering question mark on the relevance of the band throughout their downfall in the 1990's.

However, before grunge, drugs and Paula Yates, INXS were a great singles band throughout the 1980's. "The One Thing", "Don't Change", "Original Sin", "What You Need" and "Listen Like Thieves" are classic radio hits and on their sixth album they managed to stretch their musical ability and ambition over the course of an album and Kick is the result.

The opener Guns In The Sky is an anthemic rock song like a cross between the rumbling funk of Prince and power chords of fellow countrymen AC/DC, the drums pound as Hutchence grunts and growls, the riff comes in and Hutchence tells his audience:

"Now take your hands and raise them up,
into the air that's all around ya.
Now bring 'em down,
like a clock at two.
Shake your head,
you know what to do"


Inspiring stuff and despite its relative brevity is a good introduction to the album.

The first single from Kick was Need You Tonight, a song that needs no introduction. The legendary breakbeat, Hutchence's whisper "come over here" and that riff. INXS' only number one single in the US (it reached no.2 in the UK re-released later that year) and it's one of their very best songs despite a showcase for Andrew Fariss and Michael Hutchence's songcraft and Thomas' production rather than a genuine band effort. Hutchence sings with warmth and soul as he locks the world outside and dismisses the fake emotion as he invites the woman over ("So, slide over here and give me a moment"") pleading "I've got to let you know" over a subtle and spidery guitar run. "I need you tonight, 'cos I'm not sleeping" he admits before the band provides appropriate backing vocals for the final verse ("I'm lonely!") and the music dies down and Hutchence simply says "you're one of my...kind" before seguing into Mediate (or "Meditate" according to some pressings), a dream-like mantra which recalls the more experimental side of INXS. It's decent despite nearly slipping into sub-Marley/Lennon piety.

The four other singles were similarly successful. New Sensation opens with an instantly-recognisible sinewy guitar line and Hutchence never sounded more confident as a frontman. The lyric "don't let the pain take over you" still makes me wince but the stomping chorus and insistent guitar line make up for it and was a deserved hit. Devil Inside is reminiscent of the Roxy Music-meets-Prince rock n' soul of Shabooh Shoobah with Hutchence's husky, lusty voice and thumping overdriven guitar and excellent dance beat. Eventually Hutchence gives it up for the music and the climbing, New Order-style synths carry the song to its conclusion.

If you've seen the director's cut of "Donnie Darko" you'll know Never Tear Us Apart. It's one of INXS' most extraordinary songs, the faux-orchaestral synth-based arrangement, the gentle percussion, the dramatic pauses and ominous bass and the wonderful saxophone solo from Kirk Pengilly that comes in at just the right time. The subtle backing vocals from the rest of the band back up one of Hutchence's best vocal performances and most affecting lyrics especially in the second verse:

"I was standing
You were there
Two worlds collided
And they could never tear us apart"


It's simple but it's sweet and is one the highlights of the album.

The final single; Mystify is another excellent swinging soul tune (complete with fingers clicking!), Tim Fariss adds some tough riffs to counter the blue-eyed soul of the music but it's a testament to the underrated songwriting partnership of Andrew Fariss and Michael Hutchence.

In the middle are two nice throaways, a cover of The Loved One by a similarly-named band fits in well with the album. It's distinctly bluesy and very 1960's in its ersatz British invasion style but it's a good song and the band really have fun performing it. Wild Life is a redemptive tribute to urban decadence with a great staccato riff, vocal trill and subtle, twinkling keyboards that rises out of the mix and Hutchence is a dead ringer for his spiritual predecessor, Mick Jagger when he sings "I gotta learn some respect, that's what I have, what I have for you"

The album finishes with a good hat-trick, Kick is an urgent, swinging pop-rocker with excellent saxophone from Kirk Pengilly to punctuate Hutchence's verses, followed by the Stones-y, chopping, swaggering Calling All Nations with some sweet lyrics ("you don't have to be rich, you don't have to be famous, you just have to have a little bit of patience") and is one of INXS' best rock songs where lead guitarist Tim Fariss really shines. The album concludes with Tiny Daggers, a mid-tempo soft rock song with chiming keyboards on the intro and tasteful solo in the middle, a good band effort and a perfect ending to a great album.

INXS were never great after this, follow-up X failed to match expectations and despite maintaining popularity in their homeland and Europe, their music suffered at the indifference of their record company and US audience. Still, every band from Maroon 5 to Orson to Scissor Sisters owe this album a debt. A danceable and joyful blend of rock, pop, soul and funk that sounds as fresh today as it did in 1987.

Key tracks

Need You Tonight
Devil Inside
Never Tear Us Apart
Calling All Nations
New Sensation



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user ratings (89)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jim
October 20th 2007


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very good review. Some great singles here.
Need You Tonight is simply wonderful, and suffers none even after the Rogue Traders incredibly sub-par remix.
I must confess a lot of their new songs are quite catchy.

AtavanHalen
October 20th 2007


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great stuff! I love INXS.

Kaleid
October 20th 2007


711 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Had some great singles but I don't really like listening to the album in full. Never Tear Us Apart is brilliant, and Mystify is cool too

NEVERfade
September 2nd 2010


376 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is a great album, you never hear about INXS

BigHans
September 2nd 2010


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Devil Inside and Never Tear Us Apart are classics.

Jim
September 3rd 2010


5110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i need to get this already

foxblood
October 22nd 2011


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album, Never Tear Us Apart is such a stand out. damn good song

kangaroopoo
October 22nd 2011


3175 Comments


come over here...da da da dadada dada da

megadeth69
May 12th 2013


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

4.5 Rating Killer Album

emprorzurg
February 17th 2014


523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so what did my fellow Aussies think of the INXS telemovie?

tempest--
February 17th 2014


14635 Comments


yea it was pretty good, would've liked to have seen more samantha jade cos she's hot but whatever she will die out and some new hot bitch will show up like always haha

wouldn't get the dvd or anything but it was cool to see their story, as I wasn't around when it happened

emprorzurg
February 17th 2014


523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I found the first episode to be pretty boring and disjointed, I thought they tried to fit too much into it. Haven't seen the second yet, but I taped it. Looks better

tempest--
February 17th 2014


14635 Comments


yea the first ep was pretty much their huge rise, 2nd ep was all the ~drama~

SitarHero
February 17th 2014


4745 Comments


There's an INXS telemovie? What's the point? Y'all know how it's gonna end; in tragicomedy.

emprorzurg
February 17th 2014


523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

everyone knows the peak of INXS and the fall, but no-one knew how they started etc

SitarHero
February 17th 2014


4745 Comments


Fair point. I still wonder how 'sensitively' they're going to, nay, how 'sensitively' they CAN treat Hutchence's death.

tempest--
February 17th 2014


14635 Comments


they didnt even show anything or mention the whacking off they just said that "it appears he hung himself"

SitarHero
February 17th 2014


4745 Comments


Damn, I can't decide on whether to crack a pun about being hung or copping (a feel) out.

avonbarksdale221
February 17th 2014


8265 Comments


least rock star death ever

SitarHero
February 17th 2014


4745 Comments


Or maybe the MOST rockstar death ever. I mean, Scott and Hendrix choked on their own vomit and Morrison drugged himself to death after becoming impotent from all the drugs he'd already had (allegedly). Staley died by himself in a room with no lights on and wasn't missed for a week, while Cobain offed himself with a shotgun (supposedly).

Atleast Hutchence went out on a high.



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