The Kills

Red Hot Right Now
by Emma Dessau

Royale now sold out
Boston, MA - 4/26/11

If somewhere along the way you lost the ability to recognize pure unadulterated awesomeness, I’d say you should get that checked out. Or start listening to The Kills. Some people just exude coolness, and as far as the rock ‘n’ rollers out there right now, Alison Mosshart is the biggest badass of them all. And Jamie Hince doesn’t hurt the cause either.

The Kills don’t make mind-blowingly inventive music. Their lyrics aren’t going to change your life, their drum kit and electric guitars clearly draw from all the other grungy rock acts that came before them. But listening to Mosshart’s deep and lusty vocals will turn your stomach anyway, and maybe even give you a tickling feeling in the back of your throat that you just can’t shake.

They were at their rawest back in 2003, on their first full length album Keep Your Mean Side On. Tracks like “Black Rooster” and “Fried My Little Brains” define their blues-garage sound, and dance on simplistic. Keyword: Dance, because there remains something inescapably captivating about Mosshart’s crooning on the track “Wait,” hidden near the end of the album. The song pulls their performance together and adds a surprising level of intimacy to a band that otherwise seems so focused on sticking to the basics. On No Wow, the band’s second coming in 2005, The Kills upped the ante. The album is less bare and tracks like “Murdermile” and “Rodeotown” begin to toy with the more electronic and playful sounds found on their next release Midnight Boom.

And, Midnight Boom is a force to be reckoned with. While purists may have been disappointed with the turn away from the barebones raw music of their first two releases, Midnight Boom is a more creative and beat-heavy pursuit. To put it bluntly, this album should make you want to rip all your clothes off and run through the street. In fact, if you can make it through the slow build-up of “Last Day of Magic” without doing so, consider yourself a very controlled individual.

Blood Pressures, The Kills latest album just out this month, has garnered only mediocre reviews. I can’t say the album is their best ever in my eyes, but to write it off isn’t fair either. “DNA, “Damned If She Do” and “Nail In My Coffin” are armed with sharp edges, and “Heart Is A Beating Drum” is pretty damn catchy.

Regardless of how great Mosshart sounds collaborating on The Dead Weather with the only male rocker out there as badass as she is, Jack White, The Kills should not be written off. She has enough badass in her to power two bands at once. You better believe I’ll be at her feet when The Kills bring their energy to the Royale on April 26th, hoping some of her tangible cool can be transmitted through air. Or, ya know, sweat.

The Kills
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