The Kills

Ash & Ice

Written by: TL on 18/06/2016 16:29:29

The music industry is a business of fleeting trends where many bands come and go, yet the transcontinental duo The Kills is one act approaching a status as a pillar of dependability, having recently released their fifth full-length since debuting in 2003. Part of the dependability with them lies in the fact that you can count on them not changing all too much from album to album, although the duo - who are set to guest Copenhagen in August - have gradually allowed a bit more details to seep in since the days of working with just a guitar and a drum machine on a song like "No Wow" from the eponymous 2005 album.

That being said, the new album "Ash & Ice" extends the impression that you can primarily depend on The Kills to sound straight up cool. There's nothing lavish or particularly atmospheric about the way they play their minimalistic rock & roll, yet singer Alison "VV" Mosshart and guitarist Jamie "Hotel" Hince simply wield their instruments with the kind of charisma and integrity that always keep things engaging and make you feel like you're in good company. Furthermore, they write songs with a grasp on gradually escalating rhythms which ensures that they always tug firmly at the feet, hips and shoulders of the listener, compelling one to get a groove on.

Normally their albums serve up at least a couple of extra potent samples that leave no doubts about the band's relevance, even while also routinely suffering a bit from the duo's keeping things so barebones that a whole album gets to feeling a bit one-dimensional. And at that, "Ash & Ice" isn't really a departure. It starts out nicely with the deceptively catchy "Doing It To Death" and actually maintains a good level of quality for a while, despite quickly making you feel like you know what to expect from both the current song and the next. Then there are a few songs that stand out, like "Bitter Fruit", which somehow just opens the ears a bit wider the instant its opening riff comes on, or like "Siberian Nights", which starts off with a similar impression, but eventually also sees the subtle ambiance in the background unite with the progression of VV's vocal patterns to just ramp that otherwise abundant feeling of coolness up an extra notch. A different kind of highlight is also available in the bluesy "Hum For The Buzz", which stands out by its low tempo and absence of percussion because generally the less driven tunes aren't where The Kills make their mark.

Overall, though, the lingering impression one gets from "Ash & Ice" is that it's a record of enjoyable, bluesy and coolly measured rock & roll, yet it does get a bit thin over a running time of fifty minutes, rarely stepping it up as the kind of record that has extra layers or rewards for those who put extra attention in.


Download: Bitter Fruit, Siberian Nights, Doing It To Death, Hum For The Buzz
For The Fans Of: Royal Blood, The White Stripes, Band Of Skulls, Baby In Vain

Release date 03.06.2016
Domino Recording Co

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