[Rating: 3.5 stars]
After vocalist Alison Mosshart’s semi-defection to The Dead Weather and the threat of Jamie Hince’s dissolution into the fashion world with fiancée Kate Moss, some feared we’d never see another album from The Kills. It’s been a cold three years since 2008’s garage-synthy third album Midnight Bloom, but their new effort Blood Pressures is more than worth the wait. Expansive and rich, with grinding girl-on-boy vocals with massive drums and a vintage sheen slipping into sludgy classic rock tributes and distorted guitar riffs, this is without a doubt their most mature album to date.
Opener “Future Starts Slow” throws the door open with deep, aggressive guitar riffs and double vocals, building up to a chorus that lets you know what you’re about to experience: “…You can blow what’s left of my right mind,” they croon. Next, “Satellite” walks in, a pulsating, almost unbearably sexy track that stomps from beginning to end, swinging its hips with every step. The song is characteristic of the album as a whole in terms of its generous and effective use of heavy drums, the pounding backdrop running through the record like a heartbeat (see third track “Heart is a Beating Drum” to collaborate this point).
But that’s not to say the album is only gritty garage rock. Mosshart and Hince make good use of their considerable talents, stepping into 60’s-flavored rock on “Baby Says” before dissolving somewhat inevitably into a pretty-voiced Mosshart singing a romantic piano hall song, proving that she can be just as delightfully silky as she can raw and ragged.
Ultimately, Blood Pressures is a little moodier and a little grittier than anything we’ve seen from The Kills before, a perfect rock album for late nights, rollicking parties and general adventuring. What’s good about the band has only gotten better, and they’ve shed a little of that pop sound that kept them in the middle of the pack until now. Be prepared for them to start running out in front, drums beating wildly.