The Kills Return With "Blood Pressures"!


After the critical and commercial success that was 2008's Midnight Boom, the transatlantic duo known as The Kills suddenly found that there were a whole lot more eyes and ears eager to feast upon their next sonic platter. That's probably why an album that was started in 2009 took another two years to finish.

Still, having spent the weekend with this record, we at Fudgeknuckle HQ can say with total conviction that The Kills' new rekkid, Blood Pressures, is the best album of 2011.

Thankfully, the duo of Alison Mosshart and James Hince have finally outgrown the lazy comparisons to the White Stripes and created an album that stands on its own like a rising, dark grey monolith of cool.

That's right, we said "monolith of cool".

What makes this record so brilliant isn't that it barges out of your speakers demanding to be heard despite having nothing to say, but that it says what it says with nary a thought as to whether anyone is listening at all. It is that whole "comfortable in their own skin" quality that makes them so irresistible, like the kid in class with the mismatched shoes that no one makes fun of because there's still something kick-ass about the way they eschew convention at every turn and exist in their own little world, which, of course, is getting bigger all the time as more folks clamor to be a part of it.

"Future Starts Slow" begins with a tom-tom pulsating like a beating human heart as guitars swell around it, creating the pedestal upon which Mosshart and Hince's voices can slither to and fro. The song effortlessly ebbs and flows, playing hard-to-get just long enough to nail you with the chorus yet again.

"Satellite" scrapes, grinds and crunches to a start like a '57 Chevy that has been sitting in some dark garage for ages. You turn the key, hear the sound of harsh metal-on-metal, and almost give up on the thing before it comes to life on its own and takes you for a helluva ride. Of course, you have your eyes closed the whole time as your ears take in the sonic data and your mind fills in the blanks.

One only hopes David Lynch can create a movie worthy of such a song as "The Heart Is A Beating Drum", with it's staccato stabs and smoky lounge vocals c/o Mosshart, who has never sounded better, or more seductive.

What can one say about "Nail In My Coffin" that one listen to this song wouldn't say a million times better? For starters, Mosshart sings her ass off, begging the question...why do we waste our time worshiping the Gagas, Britneys and Aguileras of this world when Mosshart outshines them in her sleep? Granted, those gals exist on a whole different plane, adored by millions, their every move followed by gaggles of paparazzi, but can we still not ask why as we scratch our heads in dumbfounded wonder? Meanwhile, the Kills play to 1,200 at the local Metro, or Troubadour, or whatever mid-size club will have them.

Now, just before you get the idea that this is the Alison Mosshart show, along comes James Hince to slyly slay you with the Lennon-esque "Wild Charms". We thought about saying "Nilsson-esque", but didn't want the comparison to fall on deaf ears. Seriously, name three Nilsson tunes. Those of you who can, we award you ten Fudgeknuckle bonus points. The rest of you, you have your homework for the day.

"DNA" makes us not miss Siouxsie Sioux so much, with Mosshart's commanding vocals that seem to thrive on darkness. D'oh, more homework for those of you wondering who the hell we're talking about.

"Baby Says" is our personal favorite, taking the same ingredients from which most of the other tracks on the album are constructed and putting them in an order that strikes total gold. Vibrato-drenched guitars and metronomic drums crash beautifully into Mosshart and Hince's hypnotic vocal hook then, like a kiss in the dark, it's gone.

"The Last Goodbye" Anyone who thinks Mosshart's vocal prowess is reliant upon an indie-rock wall of guitars and drums need only press "play" on this stunner that sees her sing circles around all contemporaries against a lush, yet minimal arrangement of piano and strings.

"Damned If She Do" is a bit of a misstep, not quite rising to the heights of the rest of the album, but still a nice little cut that has a certain charm. When I was a kid, they used to put 45 rpm records on the back of cereal boxes. We kids would cut them out and play them on our turntables. This sounds like the kind of song that, in a perfect world, would've been on the back of a box of Boo Berries or Count Chocula.

"You Don't Own The Road" sees Mosshart and Hince sticking close to home, creating the sort of bare bones rocker for which they're already known. Give the people what they want.

"Pots And Pans" closes out the album with a laid-back campfire rave-up that'll leave your clothes smelling of smoke and you'll find yourself taking a whiff now and then just to remind yourself of the good time that was had by all, the refrain of "These are the days that we'll never forget" still echoing in your head.

Did we mention that they'll be swinging into town on May 4th for a gig at the Vic? Get your tickets NOW!

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

No comments:

Post a Comment