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Love Gun

Casablanca NBLP 7057
Released: June 1977
Chart Peak: #4
Weeks Charted: 26
Certified Platinum: 6/30/77

After seeing Kiss backstage without their makeup, I have lost all ambition to do anything with me life except see them naked. Gene Simmons knows this and has written a song about the Plaster Casters -- a couple of groupies who made molds of rock stars' nonproboscis protuberances in the late Sixties -- to titillate me and the millions of other Americans who go to bed every night wondering about Simmons' masculine module. Does he paint it like his face before he performs with it ? Does it breathe fire and puke blood? If so, does his girlfriend use an asbestos diaphragm?

Simmons subtly leaves these questions unanswered on Love Gun, no doubt to preserve his mystique. He does, however, drop us several tantalizing hints. He describes his Vesuvius of the lower regions as "perfection" on "Plaster Caster" and offers, "If you want to see my love, just ask her." This line represents the record's only serious artistic failure: inside the jacket is an order form for Kiss T-shirts, Kiss posters and Kiss belt buckles -- so why do we have to go to the Plaster Casters for a glimpse of perfection? Why not have a $6.95 check-off for a plastic replica of the Gene Simmons Memorial Seed Silo? Paul Stanley, who also uses "love" as a euphemism for "my dick," could have a model that dances in eight-inch platforms. Peter Criss could have one with a hydraulic system that raises it 30 feet in the air. And Ace Frehley's could shoot rockets over the audience.

Kiss - Love Gun
Original album advertising art.
Click image for larger view.
Love Gun's less serious failures include losing much of the energy in the overdubs (a chronic problem with Kiss) and not taking enough advantage of Peter Criss' excellent voice. Still, they come up with some nice riffs, and "Then She Kissed Me," a cover of the Phil Spector tune, is genuinely funny for the right reasons. I'm told their next album will contain the definitive versions of everything potentially worth hearing on Love Gun.

- Charles M. Young, Rolling Stone, 8/25/77.

Bonus Reviews!

Rock's outrageous foursome has completed its most flawlessly produced and written album yet. This LP is loaded with a collection of nine original tunes and a cover of Phil Spector's "Then She Kissed Me" that represents a new high in quality and performance for a group riding the crest of four platinum disks, international acclaim and an admirable public relations effort that includes a special Marvel Comic devoted to them. This should all add up to making this LP one of the group's hottest. Plenty of single material here, played full-tilt with crystal clear vocals and catchy instrumental work throughout. Hard core rock, all of it. Best cuts: "Love Gun," "Christine Sixteen," "Shock Me," "Tomorrow and Tonight," "Plaster Caster," "Hooligan," "Almost Human."

- Billboard, 1977.

By the time of Love Gun, Kiss had perfected their gimmick, turning in a set of sleek, slick hard rock that celebrated its silly, tongue-in-cheek jokes and grotesque imagery. The group had polished all of the rough edges out of its sound, leaving a collection of hard-driving riffs that were more catchy than heavy. Songwriting was still a problem for the band, but Love Gun was one of their most consistent albums, featuring the concert staples "Christine Sixteen," "Plaster Caster," and "Love Gun." * * * *

- Stephen Thomas Erlewine, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

Love Gun takes a lighter tone than Kiss's previous albums but with the same spiffy production values as Destroyer. Poppy jewels such as "Plaster Caster" and "Christine Sixteen" suggest Kiss has improved its songwriting. * * * *

- Allan Orski, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

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