Comparisons abound, but The Kills are not the White Stripes. Yes,
they are a bass-less, raw and minimal, punk- and blues-inspired
boy/girl duo. But they do not sound like the White Stripes. Similar
means can yield a vast array of ends they approach
music-making on the same path, but arrive at very different
destinations. If any reference is to be used, it had best be the
Velvet Underground. For one thing, with The Kills, it is the female
vocalist/guitarist VV doing the majority of the
singing, recalling Nico, and the gritty/jangly guitar riffs and
tambourine shakes bringing the Velvets' songwriting style to mind.
It's also safe to say The Kills VV, who used to front Florida
punk band Discount, and guitarist/vocalist/drummer and organist Hotel
have an attitude-driven, dark and edgy sound all their own.
They've obviously given up much heart and soul for the sake of their
punchy, sometimes infectious and always in-your-face punk-rock songs.
For the first six months of their existence as songwriting partners,
as The Kills, VV and Hotel sent tapes between VV's residence in the
U.S. and Hotel's in London. Eventually, VV moved to London, where
they would write songs out of the basement, self-record on
four-track, then in a vintage studio, just before releasing their
debut five-song Black Rooster EP on Dim Mak Records. Three of
the songs from the EP, the powerful, melodic and sexed-up "Cat Claw,"
the droning, disturbed and minimal "Hitched," and very derivatively
"Heroin"-esque "Black Rooster," are also on the album. While tracks
from the EP feel a bit more punk-ish, many of The Kills' new songs
for the album have that down-home dirty blues feel. For example,
"Kissy Kissy" is led by Hotel's throaty, down-and-out croons while
"Fried My Little Brains" is fueled by a muddy Delta blues guitar riff
and stomping back porch beat. Other areas of the album find VV and
Hotel experimenting with tossing the organ, electric viola, drum
machine and harmonica into the mix.
Sure, The Kills have the fever of punk, the passion of blues, plus
angst and arty-ness. But red and white just wouldn't look good on