After her much deserved success with Jack White in his most recent band, the Dead Weather, Alison Mosshart is now back with Jamie Hince, who together, form The Killsâ€”one of the few, great rock and roll bands.
Their new, fourth LP, Blood Pressures, is certainly a quality set of songs. It isnâ€™t quite as up-beat and party-geared as their last album, Midnight Boom,Â but instead features slow but surging, tension-filled tunes. â€œFuture Starts Slow,â€ kicks off the album nicely with catchy guitar licks, dark drum machine beats and duet vocals from both band members. The song builds as they sing, â€œYou can holler, you can wail, you can blow whatâ€™s left of my right mind,â€ reflecting on a dangerous and abusive relationship that just refuses to end. The song, like many others on the album, is tightly constructed and has a slightly mechanical, even industrial, instrumentation, but with vocals that add a raw, blues-rock grit.
â€œBaby Says,â€ another strong, surging track, continues similar lyrical themes of broken people, in dangerous situations. Over psyched-out guitar pedal, the duo sings, â€œBaby says sheâ€™s dying to meet you/Take you off and make your blood hum and tremble like the fairground lights.â€ This character brings a great sense of heaviness as she seems so sad, screwed-up and desperate for love, attention and approval. I canâ€™t help but think this character is a groupie that perhaps tried to hook up with Hince or White at some point.
The album has a few ballads too (â€œThe Last Goodbyeâ€ and â€œWild Charms), which come as a bit of a surprise. â€œThe Last Goodbyeâ€ is actually quite beautiful in its 1-2-3 waltz-like timing of piano and swelling violin music.
From the beginning, some critics have criticized this duo, saying that theyâ€™re always just putting on a choreographed actâ€”that theyâ€™re in-character, acting as damaged sex-drugs-and-rock-and-rollers and that these arenâ€™t their true personalities. Even if this is slightly true, does it really matter? Honestly, when such great songs are produced, I really couldnâ€™t care less if itâ€™s all just pretend.