When I first encountered this duo, almost three years ago, I was apprehensive about a band where a drum machine was a staple. It made me think of all the New Wave I could barely tolerate from the 80’s. After giving them a chance, I fell in love with their quirky rock n’ roll vibe and intimate chemistry. Record after record, I was never disappointed. Each song had a vintage feel, pulling from influences like the Velvet Underground, combined with a modern exploration of abstract lyrics and uninhibited guitar experimentation. The Kills’ new release “Blood Pressures” is another gem at the side of the road.
Blood Pressures has been met with harsh criticism and scrutiny. The vicious cycle of the cruel music industry states two consistent and contradicting truths: don’t stick to what’s is musically safe and grow as a band and receive criticism regarding maturity and growth or stick to what’s safe and stagnate creatively while being accused of recycling old sounds. Regardless of a band’s path, they are faced with condemnation. There is no doubt that this album is a significant departure from crowd pleasers like “Keep on Your Mean Side” and “Midnight Boom” but the sound is nonetheless refreshing and contributes to a minority of worthwhile releases.
The drum machine has become less synthetic and replaced by full-bodied beats. Adding to this process of maturation, Alison sings a beautiful and haunting ballad. “The Last Goodbye” is an emotional and gritty sandstorm. The light accompaniment highlights Mosshart’s vocal eloquence. The Blood Pressures Short Film consists of three acoustic renditions of Pots and Pans, Baby Says, and The Last Goodbye. This alone underscores the versatility of their musical range and further demonstrates the raw talent they both possess.
Loudness equals success. I play this album loud.