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 Kills—one of the few, great rock and roll bands.
Their new, fourth LP, Blood Pressures, is certainly a quality set of songs. It isn’t quite as up-beat and party-geared as their last album, Midnight Boom, but instead features slow but surging, tension-filled tunes. “Future Starts Slow,” 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, “You can holler, you can wail, you can blow what’s left of my right mind,” 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.
“Baby Says,” another strong, surging track, continues similar lyrical themes of broken people, in dangerous situations. Over psyched-out guitar pedal, the duo sings, “Baby says she’s dying to meet you/Take you off and make your blood hum and tremble like the fairground lights.” This character brings a great sense of heaviness as she seems so sad, screwed-up and desperate for love, attention and approval. I can’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 (“The Last Goodbye” and “Wild Charms), which come as a bit of a surprise. “The Last Goodbye” 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 they’re always just putting on a choreographed act—that they’re in-character, acting as damaged sex-drugs-and-rock-and-rollers and that these aren’t their true personalities. Even if this is slightly true, does it really matter? Honestly, when such great songs are produced, I really couldn’t care less if it’s all just pretend.