This is, for once and for all, nothing like The White Stripes. Jamie Hince (‘Hotel’) and Alison Mosshart (‘VV’) have returned to the fine form of debut album ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’. ‘Midnight Boom’ is bursting at the seams with dynamic, danceable and sharp snatches. The Kills haven’t lightened up, but they have let go a tad – the lyrics are as morose as ever, but the groove on tracks like ‘What New York Used To Be’ show a new, less audibly downbeat side to the band.
‘Black Balloon’ is a prime example of the slurry, deadpan chic that The Kills exude so prolifically. And ‘Cheap And Cheerful’ is one part disco, five parts urban dismay. The conceptualism of the previous records has been done away with, and vocally, VV – and occasionally House - are odder and more captivating than ever. ‘U.R.A. Fever’ is magnificent, minimal and aching in its semi-conversational lyrics.
Dostoevsky is referenced and the whole feel of this slab of magnetic darker than thou is entirely idiosyncratic - ‘M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U.’ the clearest example yet that nobody is doing what The Kills do, nor can they hope to. ‘Goodnight Bad Morning’ is the gentlest song the band have attempted, and for this reason falls slightly flat – it’s devoid of the anti-conformism and aural disconcertedness that sets the rest of the album apart from the crowd. Armani XXXChange of Spank Rock produces some of ‘Midnight Boom’ in a genius move, keeping the sound fresh, uncluttered, lo-fi and contrasting. ‘Sour Cherry’ is what ‘No Wow’ should have sounded like.
The finest moment on ‘Midnight Boom’ comes at the almost halfway point, ‘Last Day Of Magic’. Retaining the unfussiness, the track goes a step further – it feels fuller, more kitsch and even more disjointed whilst simultaneously possessing the capability to propel The Kills into the mainstream. This album is the best piece of work we’ve seen from The Kills yet.