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Album Review

Kiss, 'Sonic Boom'

October 5, 2009

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Hard Rock
Kiss Sonic Boom
KISS
ESSENTIAL “Never Enough’’
Kiss plays at the TD Garden tonight at 7:30. Tickets are $22.50-$125 at www.ticketmaster.com.

Kiss is such a merciless merchandising machine that each new album typically seems like just another product to sell. But as the band’s first studio album since 1998’s “Psycho Circus,’’ the new “Sonic Boom’’ aims to be something a bit more substantial than simply the pretext for yet another lucrative tour. Of course, substance is in the eye of the beholder, and the lyrics don’t much stray from Kiss standbys such as partying, sex and, naturally, rock ’n’ roll. The results are appropriately direct and unambiguous: on “Hot And Cold,’’ Gene Simmons appropriates the old chestnut “If it’s too loud, you’re too old’’ before demanding “Baby, feel my tower of power.’’ Musically, the songs hark back not to Kiss’s 1970s heyday but to 1980s metal; despite its “Rock and Roll All Nite’’-style hook, “Never Enough’’ (about not just wanting it all but, appropriately enough for Kiss, taking it all) sounds almost exactly like Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time,’’ which is like two snakes eating each other’s tails. The band sounds energized from its long recording hiatus, and the Kiss Army faithful, who get the cobbled-together loyalty anthem “Stand,’’ should be thrilled by “Sonic Boom.’’ Everyone else can wait for the concert. (Out tomorrow) MARC HIRSH