Review: The Kills – Blood Pressures

I have to confess … the first time I heard of The Kills was when I was hunting down info on Gypsy Death and You–the Philadelphia-based band. The Kills have a song by the same title on their Keep On Your Mean Side CD.  I have since become a HUGE fan.

The Kills is Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. Pretty cool concept of how they started off–mailing recordings back and forth over the Atlantic. He was living in London, she was living in South Florida. She, of course, provided vocals for the music he would send, and they’d send stuff back and forth. Finally, she just moved to London. Makes sense to me … no sense wasting postage when you could move to London!

So yah … this was released about a month ago, but it’s so worth reviewing that it very much still warrants the tidal wave of positive comments that I’m about to heap upon it. From Alison’s incredible vocals to Jamie’s bluesy, lo-fi, grinding, gritty guitar work, there’s plenty to enjoy on this new offering.

The first thing I noticed about this CD is that the whole thing is just riddled with vibe. It’s  fat and thick with heavily distorted guitar. It’s a great sound, reminiscent of Jack White (yes, I know there’s a connection with Jack and Alison through the Dead Weather). In fact, on “Satellite,” I’d swear that Jack is playing guitar.

Speaking of, that’s one of my overall favorites. The largeness of the guitar, the almost weepy quality to the vocals on the “ohhh ohhh” parts … it’s very easy to get lost in the emotion and weight of the overall sound. Its reggae-style of syncopated thickly distorted guitar chords, blending with the rhythmic, relentless pounding of the drums evokes a very somber mood. LOVE IT. Here’s a performance they did on the Conan O’Brien show. Absolutely lovely. Every time I hear this, it gives me the chills … live or studio.

Then we have “Nail in My Coffin”–a musically much more upbeat track, again heavy on the guitar. It kind of has a sort of dance sound to it. Not in a electronica kind of way; there’s an infectious beat that makes you want to get up and move around. You could spend a good amount of time bouncing around to this one.

“DNA” is another one of the stand-out tracks, in my opinion. There’s a 70s straight-up rock sound that’s infectious and brooding. Jamie plays low-key and fluctuates between picking out the matching melody to Alison’s vocals and a great riff that absolutely hounds the chorus. Alison’s vocal range oscillates between soft crooning to unleashing herself on the song. If you can imagine a cross between Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac, you can kind of get a sense of how this song sounds.

As always, I don’t want to review every song; the rest is up to you to enjoy and form your own opinion. Hopefully, this will at least whet your appetite and get you excited to pick this up as soon as possible. I’ll tell you this much: the more I listen to this CD, the more I want to acquire the rest of their discography. I’ve heard a few songs from other CDs, and the sound is similar, sort of … I don’t know. I’ll need to get the rest of their stuff to make a more accurate assessment, but this CD sounds like it’s pretty different from their previous work. Only one way to find out, right?

Go ahead and file this under “shiver” and “shake” cuz you can do both on this one!

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