The Kills | Midnight Boom (Domino Records)

kills.jpgMidnight Boom is a sexually-charged rock’n’roll tornado that’ll shake you up and leave you panting for more.

Midnight Boom, the third full-length release from The Kills, opens with an insistent dial tone, hearkening back to the duo’s stripped down-and-dirty debut Keep On Your Mean Side. That album’s first track “Superstition” ended with a snippet of Allison Mosshart talking on a phone, coughing and carrying on about how “an attempt to hustle is an attempt to hustle.” Fast-forward five years to 2008 and get ready for what will surely be The Kills’ breakout effort. London-based Mosshart and Jamie Hince share songwriting and singing duties, and the results are nothing less than orgasmic. “Time ain’t gonna cure you, honey, time don’t give a shit,” Mosshart purrs seductively on the third track “Tape Song.” In a way, that’s just the reassurance fans of The Kills’ guitar-driven, blues-tinged punk sound need to embrace this latest incarnation of Mosshart and Hince. After all, seeing the duo glammed up on the February 2008 cover of Nylon was a bit of a shock, especially if one read the “behind the scenes” coverage of the photo shoot. It was noted that “Jamie was especially enamored with an A.P.C. pea coat, and Allison adored an Hermes studded watch.” Could this possibly be the enigmatic pair once known as “VV” and “Hotel” that had electrified Coachella in 2005? Mosshart (a.k.a. VV) looked like she had dragged herself away from a vampiric catnap to take the stage in rumpled pants and an old T-shirt. She and Hince performed face to face, singing and snarling their way through songs from their second album No Wow mere inches away from one another. When Hince stabbed his six-string at Mosshart as she leaned back before him, it was impossible to believe they weren’t a couple. Or at least friends with mind-blowing benefits. Hince and Mosshart deny any such romantic entanglement, though they do share a flat in East London. Perhaps it’s unconsummated chemistry that inspires the sometimes raunchy, always rocking sound The Kills have nurtured into sex-frenzied perfection for nearly ten years. Midnight Boom is their best effort yet, all twelve amazing tracks of it. According to their press release, the band wanted to create something “really forward thinking” and fresh. So began Midnight Boom, a reference to the time of night when the moon rises. That’s when Hince and Mosshart would begin their sessions each night, finishing up around 10 am and sleeping till the next night’s work. The album’s beat-driven soundscape was inspired by “Pizza Pizza Daddio,” a 60’s-era documentary about inner-city school kids. “I want you to be crazy, ‘cause you’re stupid, baby, when you’re sane,” Mosshart declares in “Cheap And Cheerful,” The Kills’ version of playground songs, complete with handclaps, clicks and rat-a-tat drums. SpankRock producer Alex Epton aka Armani XXXchange assisted with overall production and beats. Yet for all the slick polish of Midnight Boom, the album was actually born of desperation. Mosshart and Hince had been struggling with the creative process, so on a whim, they took off for Mexico – right in the middle of hurricane season. That sums up Midnight Boom perfectly: a sexually-charged rock ‘n roll tornado that’ll shake you up and leave you panting for more. “We are a fever, we are a fever, we ain’t born typical,” Mosshart and Hince confess on the album’s first track, “U.R.A. Fever.” Amen to that. A+ |Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gossip, Royal Trux

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply