The Kills have never thrilled me, and often irritated me. After the first record that is. They started off so well then went so wayward. I loved that first record, full of viscous rock swagger. Epitomising all the sleazy cool of inner city heroine chique, since then they have often offered more in the image department then they have with music. Yeah, kids in leathers, girls in eye-shadow, boys with haircuts and dicks with ripped jeans may well swing to their bluesy posed groove but I find myself bored by that façade. They have moments of brilliance, sure, as back on ‘Keep on Your Mean Side’. But also moments of vacuous inanity. They have suffered from their own irrelevance since ‘No Wow’. Who knew ‘Midnight Boom’ even came out?
Promisingly, ‘Blood Pressures’ echoes in with a midnight sexual slur in the form of Future Starts Slow. They can hit it and win it when they want to. Their bashed out trashy sound may either be a studio creation or a financial requirement but this garage sound is all too common and gets bogged down in predictability for the most part. Mosshart could beat Jack White in a fight that's for sure, but that’s about it, musically they’re on different levels. Probably why she joined Dead Weather! Don’t hit me, Alison!
With the exceptions of Satellite and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-tinged album highlight, Baby Stays, the proceeding tracks rattle off with little or no consequence. Nail in My Coffin’s “fix up look sharp” beat is pure style over substance, and The Last Goodbye’s attempt at stripped down intimacy doesn’t hit that spot. Even if Damned If She Do breathes some life into the record it is only in short sharp bursts, otherwise lacking in anything substantial.
Clapping hands and rumbling battered drum machines, drugged out distorted guitar licks and over-amped bass all create that Stones/Punk vibe that they romantically and aesthetically aspire to but it achieves little when you haven’t enough momentum in the songs to sustain that sound. Only the fact that Mosshart is so menacingly raunchy holds interest. I swear when I saw them live she stared every man out in the audience, and every one of those men whimpered. Me included.
I have been rather harsh on ‘Blood Pressures’, but I stand my ground that they have a knack for creating two or three blinders on an album but fail to keep the levels up. It isn’t a bad record, the rock clubs will surely be filled, but it won’t light up the musical landscape. Aside from one or two great tracks, this album feels mediocre. The Kills haven't killed it this time.