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Like the White Stripes, The Kills are a male-female duo--Alison Mosshart, aka VV, and Hotel, aka the bloke--and they play a music that's rootsy and blues-influenced, with a garage-rock edge. And that's where the similarities end. Sure, the Kills use a drum machine instead of a live drummer, but the differences run much deeper than that: The Kills peddle a dirtier and more sex-drenched version of blues rock, a result of the shared vocal duties of Hotel and VV, and most obvious on the sultry "Hitched" (I'll get my name stitched on your lips so you won't get hitched ").
These are songs that sweat sexual menace, recalling Boss Hogg's first album, or even early PJ Harvey (on "Superstition" and "Wait", VV's voice is a dead ringer for young Polly Jean's). Best of all, these songs are stuffed with hooks--"Cat Claw" and "Fried My Little Brains", in particular. In a sea of pretenders, the Kills could finally provide some genuine competition for the White Stripes. --Robert Burrow
So after their critically lauded but commercially ignored ‘Black Rooster’ EP comes this, The Kills debut LP. The music press have been harping on about The Kills for a long time now and aside from The White Stripes comparisons, they always mention how good The Kills look. Granted, aside from this record they seem to have a lot going for them: both VV and Hotel are achingly cool, the pair simmer with sexual tension, they use a drum machine and most importantly of all they have ‘the’ in their title. But the most important thing about The Kills right now is that ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’ rocks with a vengeance.
The opening guitar chug of ‘Superstition’ sets the scene perfectly, recalling ‘Rid Of Me’ era Polly Harvey. Future single ‘Cat Claw’ is just astounding; it’s a bone-shaking rock n roll record with an awesome hook. ‘Pull A U’ robs a Jimmy Page sized riff from ‘Kashmir’ and plies it lavishly across its three minute running time.
Like most debut records, you can’t help but think that maybe The Kills are trying a little too hard to impress at times. As VV sneers, “Fried my little brains” on the track of the same name.Read more ›
By all rights, I should be here to tell you how awful the Kills are. In some ways they're everything I'm against. Repetitive songs, which sound similar to each other, simple guitar parts, a name with "the" in the title - the only exceptions to the rule that these things were bad had so far been the White Stripes.
But there's something about them... something behind those fishhook-in-your-mind riffs, something in the voices, something in the air... je ne sais quoi.
"Keep on your mean side" is possibly the best, most consistent debut I've heard since "Gish" by the Smashing Pumpkins, or "Little Earthquakes" by Tori Amos. Put simply, The Kills write great songs. Their riffs are catchy, soulful, and full of the backbone that defines blues-rock. Their lyrics are simple, yet thoughtful, and full of feeling.
Stand out tracks include "Gypsy death and you" "Wait" "Fried my little brains", "Hitched" and "Cat Claw"
God, it's just too hard to explain. Put simply, if you like The White Stripes, The Gossip, or any music with a bit of dark, laid back groove to it, mixed up with heroin-chic aesthetics and a rocknroll heart, you'll love The Kills.
The Kills' music is much more focused on dark, trashy and sexy punk, similar to PJ Harvey's "To Bring You My Love" particularly the title track of that album. Consisting of a dirty swampy guitar sound, playing simple bluesy riffs coupled with uncontrollable feedback, and VV's sexy sassy voice, the music exudes sexuality and menace. When Hotel joins in on "Black Rooster" the angry menace really takes to the fore-front and pushes the band towards a certain cult status.
If you like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, THe Jesus and Mary Chain, or even Joy Division and Interpol, then you should love this.
Go ahead and buy it, you'll love it - it hasn't been off my CD player for a week!