Wednesday, February 8, 2012

CD Review: The Kills - No Wow

Note: This is an excerpt from a review that originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.

Vocalist Alison Mosshart immediately establishes a confrontational mood on the title track of The Kills’ latest release by declaring, “You’re gonna have to step over my dead body before you walk out that door.” Mosshart, who first gained indie cred with the punk band, Discount, has a gritty voice that’s well suited for funk or R&B, but as one half of The Kills, she creates haunting garage rock with guitarist-vocalist, Hotel. On No Wow, the duo closely follows the successful formula of its 2003 debut, On Your Mean Side, although with a little more willingness to experiment.

“Love Is A Deserter,” finds Mosshart and Hotel establishing an indelible melody while careening through an arrangement reminiscent of “Tattooed Love Boys.” era Pretenders. They also combine for a potent one-two punch on the irresistibly catchy “I Hate The Way You Love” and “Sweet Cloud,” with Mosshart bringing the volatile lyrics of both tracks to life. “Rodeo Town” is a ghost story set to a mournful Country & Western arrangement that concludes with the line, “If I’m so evil, why are you satisfied?” Mosshart’s phrasing on “Dead Road 7” and “Ticket Man” borders on deranged, but gives these slowcore tracks a compelling ambience.


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