The Kills - Blood Pressures
As far as blues-inspired indie rock goes, The Kills have been making some of the best over the last decade of so. Now they return with a new studio album Blood Pressures.
This isn't The Kills we're used to. Unlike previous albums that have been wild and free-wheeling, a barely controlled frenzy, this is an incredibly tame record. I don't expect to hear the same band that gave us the aural blitzkreig of "Fried My Little Brains", but I do expect more than the midtempo tracks performed with no sense of urgency. Songs like "Future Starts Slow" and "Baby Says" sound like a band playing it safe (and possibly trying to cash in on Alison Mosshart's broader exposure in Jack White's The Dead Weather).
Sadly, even Mosshart's vocals, which are usually so raw and seductive, are coated in a polished sheen. She sounds more like a crooning Shirley Manson than the passionate wailer we're used to hearing. Her tepid delivery on "DNA" wastes an otherwise strong bluesy effort.
A handful of tracks do shake you out of the duldrums. "Nail In My Coffins" has that dirty groove that we've come to expect from The Kills. "Damned If She Do" starts as a dirty-sounding duet before exploding with a big fat bassline in the chorus. From a lyrical perspective, the kiss off song "You Don't Own The Road" is sinfully delightful.
There are a couple of experiments that don't quite click, but should be applauded anyway. The first of those, "Wild Charms", is a flighty stripped down number sung by Jamie Hince. Another, "The Last Goodbye", features Mosshart singing above a piano and strings as an old vinyl album hisses away.
Going in I had great hopes for Blood Pressures. It's a new record from a band who should by all accounts be at the height of their power. What we've been given instead in an incredibly sterile and disappointing effort.
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on 2011-04-28 dscanland Said:
Thanks Peter, you wrote almost my exact feelings about Blood Pressures. The Kills last album was SO good and this one hardly even has any power or rawness to it. I was going to give it a few more tries but I think I'll just give up and move onto the next. Thank goodness PJ Harvey didn't disappoint this year.