The Kills: Blood Pressures (Domino) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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The Kills

Blood Pressures


Apr 01, 2011 Issue #35 - Winter 2011 - Death Cab for Cutie Bookmark and Share

Alison Mosshart has the blues. She and The Kills' other half, guitarist Jamie Hince, have grounded themselves after 2008's Midnight Boom, the impeccably stylized art rock exhibition that was praised as much as it was polarizing. Things here do get manipulated, and the duo is still unabashed in their hyperbolic swagger, but for the most part Blood Pressures reeks of whiskey and sexa taste that lingers like secondhand smoke.

The Kills work a kind of minimalism that uncovers a broad sonic palette within its confines. "Future Starts Slow" is a solid opener, the call-and-response riffs fiercely contrasting the steady pulse. Its refined electric wails lead into "Satellite," a grunge-tinged number heavy on the fuzz and breathy howls. "Heart Is a Beating Drum" does hark back to the fashionable gimmicks of Midnight Boom, digitally altered for a shimmering effect.

Although as brief as the ballads are"Wild Charms," which belongs solely to Hince, clocks in at barely a minute-and-a-halfthey feel uninspired and overdrawn, acting as cheap placeholders. "The Last Goodbye" sees Mosshart's forlorn vocals at the forefront, which would be a treat if the lyrics were more "temptress" and less "pre-adolescent." The Kills are most successful when they don't try so hard. "Damned If She Do" unravels into blues-rock at its sexiest, the guttural guitars oozing an unbreakable tension, while the staccato melody of "You Don't Own the Road" provides sharp thrusts of energy. But closer "Pots and Pans" is perhaps The Kills' most dark, intimate portrait, showcasing finger-picked guitar that reverberates in its rawness.

The Kills present a gritty melodrama, the sex appeal hinted at rather than glaring and the heartbreak, though sometimes inauthentic, pummeling. Blood Pressures won't leave you feeling clean, but The Kills have found redemption. (

Author rating: 7/10

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