March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Emotional fourth album builds haunting melodies

With The White Stripes calling it quits as of February, a sizeable void now exists in the garage rock scene. Enter The Kills, an established team consisting of Brit James Hince and American Alison Mosshart. The duo’s brand of grunge blues-rock has what it takes to make it to the top, and their fourth studio album, “Blood Pressures,” might be the one to get them there.

The Kills’ material incorporates a variety of themes, but some of their favorites are sexual tension, love, demise and just about any other manner of sin. Mosshart’s vocals are crude in the best way possible. Her banshee-like shrieks add an unquantifiable amount of raw emotion to tracks. Hince’s aggressive and persistent guitar lines seem to be the only thing keeping the she-devil in check.

The album’s lead-off track, “Future Starts Slow,” is a monstrous tune complete with dire drums and a moaning, haunted guitar line. Mosshart wails over the track, demanding affection: “You can holler, you can wail, you can swing, you can flail, but I’ll never give you up.” The song sounds almost like a sleazy cover of Rick Astley.

The pair deviates from their go-to grime and grit sound with the inclusion of “The Last Goodbye.” Mosshart bids adieu to a beau while she plays a loving ballad on the piano, and the strings emerge to build emotion. Knowing Mosshart, she most likely just finished killing her lover before she took to the ivories. Love never hurt this good.

The Kills have put forth yet another gem with the release of “Blood Pressures.” Hince and Mosshart’s vengeful and moody tracks are sure to satisfy listeners’ cravings for classic blues-rock in the absence of The White Stripes. When one garage door closes, another one opens.

3.5 out of 4 stars