Pushing and pulling, demanding and yearning, sweating, shaking and swaggering the first EP release from London's raw, trashy punk two-piece The Kills is truly hot. Female singer VV can be tough and threatening but also sweetly seductive. Her male partner Hotel's guitar grinds and winds around VV's voice as if to capture her reckless spirit. The garage drumming, also by Hotel, is low and thumping, providing a shady backdrop.
Let's call Black Rooster a three-song record, even though it actually includes five tracks. After all, one is a cover of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band's "Dropout Boogie" and the closer is not music but merely obnoxious samples of gum-smacking and a woman asking, "Do you like this sound?" Uh, no, but the rest of the record? Yes, very much so!
The rough, sexy first three songs are great. The opener and the record's most fiery track, "Cat Claw" struts and thrusts Stones-style behind lusty, forceful sneers: "You got it/ I want it," repeats VV in an irrefutable tone you better give it to her. The drugged-up-feeling title track finds the duo sharing vocal duties, adding an extra dimension to the music. "You wanna fuck and fight," Hotel leers atop slithering guitar. "In the basement," pleads VV, finishing his sentence. "The kid likes to fuck and fight/ In the basement ... I'm not coming home again," they continue. Opening with the unmistakable drum and tambourine sounds of the Velvet's "Heroin," the droning and desperate "Wait" is, although derivative, powerfully emotional, sad and pretty. Black Rooster hints at something great to come a record (due by mid-2003) with not three excellent songs but 10 or 12, maybe. When it arrives, I'll be ready.