With its black-painted walls and low lighting, Heaven is dark. And when Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince hit the stage, everything seems to get just a shade darker. The Kills’ music exudes pure rock’n’roll sleaze – a brutally low rumble over which Mosshart’s alternately vicious and ice-cool vocals slide, while Hince weighs in with his low vocal tones (and the odd barbed comment between songs). It’s good to see them back. Too often a band will shoot its load, so to speak, with their first album, before setting out on a path of diminishing quality for the rest of their career (hello, The Strokes). Not so with this duo, whose excellent fourth LP ‘Blood Pressures’ dropped earlier this month.
The new stuff with which they hit the Heaven crowd is edgy, exciting and perhaps ‘poppier’ (or at least less wilfully inaccessible) than their debut material back in 2003; for new single ‘Satellite’, there’s even a trio of backing singers on stage. For the most part though, the space is commanded by Mosshart, who clambers up on the monitors to appear silhouetted, throwing rock’n’roll shapes against the purple light. The Kills are still viciously and brilliantly alive.
By Chris Watkeys
Originally published in issue 27 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. April 2011