05 October 2011

The Kills: “Blood Pressures”

I’ve been in a really trashy mood lately, leaving my hair in tatters and wearing clothes that don’t quite coincide with one another. And with this newly acquired mood I’ve found myself listening to a lot of grunge-esque and post-punk bands here and there: filtering though my Orgasmic-Music-Generator (my iPod), I felt myself become completely enthralled while blasting The Cure in my ears or The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. While in the midst of zoning in and out, I found a group that had been hiding practically under my nose this entire time—The Kills. I will be sincerely honest: I did in fact skip over their songs maybe a couple dozen of times until recently when I had virtually been crushed by the convoluted intro of a new life. Walking down usual streets in my newly found raggedy attire I caught myself bobbing my head almost angrily to the devious rhythms that churned out of “Blood Pressures” (1 April 2011 in Republic of Ireland, Germany, Nordic Countries, and Austria; 4 April 2011 in the UK, 12 April 2011). I find that I am euphoric about this band that I hardly ever listen to before, and it is actually pretty amazing how The Kills managed to strike me this time around. Like another nameless blogger said recently, some albums just grow on you in an unexpected way. I can now admit that “Blood Pressures” is truly a bloody grand explosion for the auditory senses.

For those readers (much like I) who have never paid much attention to The Kills until now, they originated in the UK and are the duo of James Hince on guitar and American Alison Mosshart on vocals. When I had mentioned to a friend of mine that I was reviewing The Kills’ fourth album “Blood Pressures,” their first quote was—“Wow, they’re old.” This shocked me because I finally realized they had been around for a long time and I never gave them a fair go, but I guess that is what happens when you listen to something completely out of your usual musical horizons. I’ve found this entire album to be like a new euphoria for me, the album to me is literally like a shelf full of books; in the beginning we start off extremely coarse and bold letting the listener know that this is what is the “here and now,” and then reaching a midpoint where things start to slow down and caress the eardrums with both cunning yet suave lyrics and slow-tempo rhythms, and then eventually you are placed harshly onto a rollercoaster and set flying down the track until you reach the book’s end on this shelf of exquisitely composed tracks.

“You can holler, you can wail, you can swing you, you can flair, you can fuck like a broken sail; but I’ll never give you up; if I ever give you up, my heart would surely fail.” I can’t find my way around these lyrics, which are from the first track on the album “Future Starts Slow,” they’re almost stunning to my recently constipated mind that I feel exuberant and inspired. The track introduces itself with the low beating of a drum, and then is accompanied by loosely plucked strings on Hince’s guitar; soon enough both Mosshart’s and Hince’s rugged vocals then enrapture the listener into believing how determined they are. The aggression of this song strongly constricted me as tightly as it possibly could, loosened the screws on my narrow vision and led me deeper into the track with an open mind.

The next two tracks that I must mention are “Baby Says” and “Last Goodbye.” I’ve found myself completely stricken by these two tracks because they are so diverse compared to the opening and ending track. “Baby Says” is the horizon line for this album; this is simply where things just start to slow down and become more elegant. Opening with such a very strange guitar rift (that made me think there was something wrong with my speakers) and then the compelling lyrics that grab you by the waist and make you twirl relentlessly – “Baby says she dying to meet you, take you off and make your blood hum and tremble like the fairground lights. Baby says if ever you see skin as fair or eyes as deep and as black as mine, I’ll know you’re lying.” I find that there is a repetitive sense of obedience in The Kills tracks, also a building of hierarchy in the songs in the way they are so portrayed as a whole. Now the “Last Goodbye” is the one track on the “Blood Pressures” album that makes me genuinely emotional. Mosshart sends the listener adrift on a record player and lets them spin slowly until they are lulled into a sleep of tranquility.

Through all of the ups and downs of this ruffled roller coaster of an album, “Blood Pressures” has to be my ideal depiction of what great indie rock is all about. The fact that not only the ghostly vocals of Mosshart can carve a satisfied frown on to your face, but also the fact that Hince can play strictly to alluded the listener deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, makes this band compelling. If you are interested in having your ears eradicated by the tempting sounds of today’s always wonderful Indie rock, try and convince yourself to take a listen to “Blood Pressures”; believe me, it is well advised.

Track Listing:
1. Future Starts Slow
2. Satellite
3. Heart Is A Beating Drum
4. Nail In My Coffin
5. Wild Charms
6. DNA
7. Baby Says
8. The Last Goodbye
9. Damned If She Do
10. You Don’t Own The Road
11. Pots And Pans

Keep up with The Kills at their homepage, MySpace, and Facebook.

Here are the videos for “Satellite” and “Future Starts Slow,” as well as the a live rendition of “The Last Goodbye,” from the DominoRecords YouTube Channel.

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