Sonic Boom comes 11 years after the last Kiss studio album and more than 20 years after the band’s new music had any sort of relevance, it features Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer sitting in for reunited-then-departed original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss, and it’s actually … kind of good? I know, it’s hard to believe, but Kiss’ latest collection of original material sticks successfully to the basics, essentially ignoring the last 25 years of musical history and just rocking out ’70s- and ’80s-style.
Kiss leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley still have the exact same things on their minds (they want to rock and roll all night and party every day, preferably with numerous hot women), but at least they’ve learned not to tinker with their band’s sound, and have settled into a comfortable groove. Thayer and Singer take turns at the mic on one song each, and their voices are adequate, but otherwise it’s all business as usual. Songs like “Never Enough,” “Hot and Cold” and “Say Yeah!” carry on the anthemic Kiss tradition admirably, and even if they’ll never achieve the iconic status of “Rock and Roll All Nite” or “Detroit Rock City,” they’ll sound fine sandwiched in between those two at an arena show on the band’s never-ending farewell tour.