The Kills Ponder Change over Rocking Synths and Driving Beats

the kills ash and ice

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started listening to this album. While I’ve seen The Kills on festival fliers numerous times, I’ve never actually listened to them before. In fact, I rarely listen to this genre.

I’d be lying if I said it takes some time to get into this album. I really liked the synth elements, but I struggled to get into the way the guitar felt, starting with the first song and one of the album’s singles, “Doing it to Death,” which explores the discomfort of repetitiveness. The song sets the tone for the rest of the album with its catchy synth-percussion and grunge-esque vocals.

The Kills’ Introspection On Change

After a while, I started to appreciate the album for what it was (and got more into the guitar): an introspection into change and facing emotions that go along with that.

A song that really stands out to me is “Bitter Fruit” and its focus: cutting ties from those that are toxic. “Bitter Fruit” is perhaps the most emotionally-charged song on the album, blending a driving drum back-beat and with vocals that seem reminiscent of The White Stripes, with elements of classic grunge artists. “I got to cut you through and through / You only ever gave me bitter fruit,” spits vocalist Alison Mosshart, with accompaniment from Jamie Hince, summing up the song in just a few heavy words.

Other songs on the album definitely reach into the mind of Mosshart and pull out heartbreak and betrayal, such as “Days of Why and How,” while other songs, like “Let It Drop” strive to reach out and connect with the subject of the song.

Adventurous Synth

Another single, “Siberian Nights,” actually made me feel like I was listening to the final boss music from Final Fantasy VII, thanks to the synth violin track that kicked off the song and made appearances throughout. Despite the feeling of impending doom, this was another of my favorite songs on the album for its bass groove and driving beat.

The rest of the album shows even more facets from The Kills with a ballad (“That Love”), a guitar-heavy groove (“Black Tar”), and a closer that features everything I’ve loved so far from the synth and percussion of this album combined with a guitar-driven chorus–a track that shows off the talents of Hince (“Whirling Eye”).

The synth elements and emotional lyrics bring out the best in this album, while the driving drums really keep the album grounded. At some points I felt like I was listening to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World resident band Sex Bob-omb…and that’s not a bad thing.


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