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March 31, 2011  | by: Kerri O'Malley

Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart of The Kills

Minimalist electro-blues duo The Kills, comprised of American wailer Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince (aka Kate Moss’s hubby), have made their entire upcoming album available for free streaming through their websiteBlood Pressures, which drops on April 5, echoes with the now-traditional Kills style of throbbing tempos, droning vocals, and lonesome, screeching guitar parts.  But it also experiments.

The duo emerges slightly from their neo-blues roots with some dance-able, almost nostalgic 50s-esque hand claps in “Heart is a Beating Drum.” And “Lonesome Goodbye” drops out the electronic fuzz altogether, pairing Mosshart’s dark tone with violins, pitter-patter drumming, and bittersweet lyrics.

The Kills Get Wild

Hince’s droning vocals echo Mosshart on the majority of the tracks, but a little just-over-a-minute track called “Wild Charms” leaves Hince out on his own, singing with a tender, sleepy voice.  The track, buried in the electro-mash of the album, stands out as the softest almost-number The Kills may have ever produced, perhaps precisely because Mosshart’s witchy wail is absent.

But “Lonesome Goodbye” and “Wild Charms” are waaaay too sweet for me.  For crooning, I’ll turn elsewhere. For gut-heavy, half-screaming, cave-of-the-soul-exploring electro fodder, I turn to The Kills.

And Blood Pressures does not disappoint.  Despite these two where-did-that-come-from tracks, Blood Pressures is mostly more of the same for Kills fans, which we shall gladly accept.  “Nail in My Coffin,” a favorite track of mine after an initial listen, features some unexpected oh-ohs, but otherwise drives along with the anticipated distortion and teeth-gritting lyrics by Mosshart and Hince, who together sing the thumping chorus: “Could be a nail in my coffin and I don’t need another one/Could be a nail in my coffin and Lord knows I ain’t ready yet/Could be a nail in my coffin and I don’t need another one/Could be a line I’m crossing and I am never gonna get back from.”

“Damned If She Do” rocks along with the kind of beat that makes you want to play it while walking down the street: an anthem to strut along and stare to.  “You Don’t Own the Road” is another instant favorite of mine, a driving fuzz that leaves everything defiantly up for grabs.  The final track, “Pots and Pans,” is perhaps the best application of The Kills’ style to the more traditional song styles they attempt in their slow jams.  “Pots and Pans” sounds less neo- and more true-blues.  Ringing with acoustic guitar, more subtle technology, a ghostly build-up of vocals and kitchen metaphors, the track ends the album on a haunting, ecstatic note.

The Kills have struck gold with their stand-out yet ethereal blues/electro/grunge driven by Mosshart’s pretty yet edgy voice and Hince’s ear for exciting sonic layering.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But do give Blood Pressures a listen.  Check out the video for their single “Satellite” off of the upcoming album below:

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