Live Review: The Kills
Heaven, London, Thursday, March 31st
If overarching hyperbole is to be believed then, apparently, rock’n’roll is dead. But if that’s the case it seems no-one gave [a]The Kills[/a] the memo. Prowling around with the rejuvenated vigour of having had, essentially, a three-year sabbatical, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are tighter, fiercer and wired with more raw, visceral energy than ever before.
The former is an absolute force of nature, effortlessly cooler than 99.9 per cent of people could ever hope to be; her stint with that other band with that bloke in seems to have propelled the singer from downtown, nonchalant chic to a howling, filthy she-wolf, mesmerisingly worthy of a place among history’s truly iconic frontwomen.
It also helps that, in new album [b]‘Blood Pressures’[/b], [a]The Kills[/a] have come up with some of their most exciting songs to date. Broadening their minimal, blues-tinged strut to a palette more catchy, more experimental and less tightly wound than before, tonight’s new-material-heavy set may be less familiar, but it’s utterly vital from start to finish. Kicking off with [b]‘No Wow’[/b], with its juddering drumbeats and tense vocal mantras, the duo lure Heaven’s heaving throng in before unleashing a double-headed attack of new material that wipes the floor with the comforting swagger of old.
[b]‘Future Starts Slow’[/b] is possibly their best tune to date – filled with stabbing guitar lines and impassioned coos that “you can blow what’s left of my right mind”, it’s a clarion call to the band’s new, direct approach. [b]‘Heart Is A Beating Drum’[/b], meanwhile, launches on a purposefully jarring keyboard line before crashing in, all dirty guitars and breathy vocals, Mosshart whipping her hair back and forth like a black-hearted siren.
From hereon in, aside from the odd nostalgic burst ([b]‘URA Fever’[/b], [b]‘Tape Song’[/b]), [a]The Kills[/a] are very much about the present. Current single ‘Satellite’ comes on like a nightmare fairground ride, crowd-favourite [b]‘DNA’[/b] moves from low-key strut to en-masse sermon in a mere four minutes, and [b]‘The Last Goodbye’[/b] proves that under the icy cool, the duo still have a soft side.
[b]‘Fried My Little Brains’[/b] makes for an ecstatic finale, but give [b]‘Blood Pressures’[/b] time to land and it’s sure to propel the band to a whole new level. Their famous friends may have put The Kills in the limelight, but they’re monopolising it entirely on their own merit.