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If there is a band that can present a better example of the non-necessity of a drummer and bassist, they haven’t shown themselves yet. The Kills continue to please with their brand of thickly layered, fuzz-laden, lo-fi blues-punk on their new record Blood Pressures.
The Kills were born from a chance meeting in 2000 when Jamie Hince and Allison Mosshart were each playing in their respective punk outfits (Hince with Scarfo and Mosshart with Discount). They then struck up a trans-Atlantic friendship by sending tapes and ideas back and forth between Florida and London. Hince and Mosshart (aka Hotel and VV) released a demo in 2001, shortly following Mosshart’s trip over the water so they could collaborate at a faster pace than airmail.
Some 11 years later—and after Mosshart’s collaboration and tour with Jack White and Dead Weather—Blood Pressures is the Kills’ fourth album, and probably they’re most accessible to date. Hince’s minimalistic but devilish guitar licks thread the overdriven samples together throughout, from the in-your-face fuzz-dub jam and dark chords in “Satellite” to the driven and jumpy beat of “Nail in My Coffin.” And he shares his hauntingly Lennon-esque vocals while crooning the dark and psychedelic country/pop “Wild Charms.”
All said, it’s Mosshart’s narcotic vox that really seals the deal for the Kills’ trademark “we got you now, stay with us” infectious melodies. Often compared to Patti Smith, Mosshart moves from track to track, going from subdued blues beast on “Damned If She Do” to darkly desperate and soft on “Baby Says,” singing the chorus in unison with Hince’s delay- and chorus-rich riffs.
From the tribal beat starting point of the first track “Future Starts Slow” through the deep and nasty blues finality of “Pots and Pans,” where Mosshart belts out “ain’t a drop left in my tank, to move move move your dead weight,” the Kills’ Blood Pressures will take yours from high to low and back again, and then sideways. Make no mistake—sans drummer and bassist, and sample rich—this is fine and dirty guitar-rock.