Album Reviews

The Kills – Midnight Boom

(Domino) UK release date: 10 March 2008

The Kills - Midnight Boom The Kills are now, in case you hadn’t noticed, famous. Not for anything as pedestrian as music though. Oh no. That’s no reason for a musician to be famous. Far more important and pertinent to everyone’s life is whomever the musician happens to be, ahem, getting to know (in the biblical sense), at the time. There’s the proper basis for a career. Screw the guitar lessons, last one down Storm model agency is a loser…

So for the hard of thinking, here’s the short version: Midnight Boom is a tremendous record. For the harder of thinking, here’s the Heat version: is the latest album from Kate Moss’s new squeeze good enough to stop Cheryl Cole moving out of love rat Ashley’s home? Find out on pages 5, 6, 8, 20-23 and 24.

Ah, fame. Ah, celebrity. If you’d suggested 12 months ago that The Kills (or at least one half of) would be appearing in the pages of the tabloids more often than Jade Goody, people would’ve probably thought you’d been spending too long hanging out with Pete Doherty’s cat. But somehow, some way, some supermodel girlfriend, that is where Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince find themselves. And it still doesn’t feel quite right. Introverted, uneasy and with songs pricklier than a hedgehog fucking a horse chestnut – it’s hard to think of a band less suited to being massively misrepresented by the press.

But even under the unexpected glare of fame, The Kills have really delivered. From the oh look, someone’s drained all of the blood out of the Sugababes and strapped them to a telephone exchange for what they did to Gary Numan, purr of U.R.A Fever, to the sneering, rent-a-nihilist attitude and clanking beats of Tape Song (“Time ain’t gonna fix it honey / Time don’t give a shit…”), to the kaleidoscopic Alphabet Pony, which sounds just like a bunch of satanic children tearing M.I.A‘s last album to pieces, it’s dynamic, glitchy and incredibly atmospheric.

Thanks, in no small part to Spank Rock producer Armani XXXchange, Midnight Boom also possesses of this air of modernity and experimentation which is never less than startling: check the gleefully self-destructive way M.E.X.I.C.O.I.C.U. spends the 90-or-so seconds of its life attempting to bash itself to pieces against the edges of the drums; or Sour Cherry’s bored-now vocal and stark pots-and-pans-patticake backing. This is not the sound of a band standing still. This is a band as restless and as unsatisfied as ever.

But still as capable as gathering you up in a dark seedy whirlpool of intoxicating intent. True, a thousand flashbulbs in a thousand nightclubs may have shattered the illusion that Mosshart and Hince spend every single moment they’re not on tape rutting like wild beasts, but there is still this aura, this mystique about their music. If they can keep that, then it’ll take more than the Daily Mail to stop The Kills.

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