The Kills - Blood Pressures
Is there anyone out there cooler than The Kills? Jamie Hince is dating one of the coolest chicks on the planet; Alison Mosshart IS the coolest chick on the planet. Fourth album Blood Pressures reflects that. It oozes bad-ass attitude, swagger and dirty grungy fun. Even more than their previous work, Blood Pressures feels like The Kills becoming the great band we always thought they could be. There is a sense of doing just what they please on this album: it's still lo-fi, gnarly and defiant, but there is a playfulness, a backward glace with a wink in the eye aspect to it that adds accessibility without diminishing the rawness.
There's a kind of Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood vibe to the songs, especially opener 'The Future Starts Slow' and 'Damned If She Do'; the undercurrent of restrained sexuality that bubbles under the surface gives the songs just a hint of menace, while Mosshart's throaty rendition of the kitschy 'The Last Goodbye' keeps it from descending into a sad pastiche of a torch song. You can almost see Sinatra, with her blonde bouffant and red knee-high boots, singing this with a cigarette smoldering away in her hand and a sad, defiant look her her kohl-lined eyes: "It's the last goodbye, I swear / I can't survive on a half-hearted love that will never be whole." 'Satellite' has a intro like a stalling engine that finally gets enough juice. Hince's and Mosshart's harmonizing vocals are beautifully eerie and unsettling while the guitar buzzes away in the background.
Maybe Mosshart's stint as The Dead Weather's front-woman has helped as her vocals are stronger and more confident. Check out the raucous 'Heart Is A Beating Drum' or the splendid 'Nail n My Coffin': 'I am no better at this than you are / unfinished business maybe...I can't change myself into you, dear / What you are to me is far too unclear." 'DNA' is catchy and hooky enough to get healthy airplay, Mosshart's sinuous vocals wrap themselves around the punchy melody as she croons "We will not be moved by it." The album closes with the sinister 'Pots and Pans', its blues inflections and slide guitar adding to the "been to the crossroads, bought the T-shirt" feel to the song.
Blood Pressures is a real triumph - edgy, dark and fun it will please old fans and win them some more. The pressure's off.