For a band who was once well respected for their post-punk alt-goth sound that allowed listeners to be reminiscent of an era well before their time, it was quite a shock to hear the band do a complete sound makeover for Blood Pressures. Although it may be significantly less gritty than their past releases, the Kills’ new album is still not a disappointment. What Blood Pressures is, is a step outside the band’s usual garage-minimalist sound into a sound that is deeper and more complex. With a healthy balance of complex rhythms and heavy beats, the band manages to create a sound that lets the listener drift into a sense of sedation or unconsciousness. The Kills then manage to snap the listener out of this sense of daze using their almost violently loud and noticeable beats created by drum machines as well as through other percussion samples.
The Kills create a chameleon-like persona in Blood Pressures that can be seen through tracks like “DNA” and “The Last Goodbye” which prove that the band can produce sounds that are comparable to those of Tom Waits as well as Beck. This album is very much a blues album, with the wavering strings that drone on depressingly behind Alison Mosshart, it is an album that proves that the Kills are a band rich in talent. Through other tracks on the album, though, they also show that they are a band of great variety, proving that they can reach from the post-punk snotty movement of the late 70s and early 80s that very much influenced their past albums, to branching out into blues that were never popular past the 60s. The band even touches base with the arena-glam-rock genre that was very popular in many different ways through T.Rex in the late 70s to the 80s with Simple Minds, and even the later 80s with David Bowie.
With the recent disbandment of the White Stripes, a lot of pressure has been put on The Kills to bring us more of the same one-boy-one-girl-but-still-monumental tracks that the Stripes brought. Whether or not this will happen in the future is hard to say, the potential is there, but Blood Pressures is not the album that brings the Kills to fill the big shoes left behind for them. Either way, Blood Pressures is obviously a learning landmark for The Kills, they have moved past the machinery and heavier sound of their previous releases, and have let the creative juices flow. Through the steady flowing of Allison’s vocals and the constant strumming of the chords as well as the steady drum beats, the band proves that they are more than just robots and distortion; the Kills are indeed talented musicians.
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