* Prices may differ from that shown
I personally haven't had the privilage to see The Kills live as yet, but this album shows why I and every other Indie lover should. The band consists of only two people, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. They have a great understanding with each other and create a perfect harmony.
The album has 12 songs on it, starting with U.R.A. Fever. This is a slow paced song with a great beat to it and demonstrates the understanding between the band members with an even balance of male and female singing throughout.
Cheap and Cheerful is a more upbeat song, and along with Tape Song would be my favorite on the album. Tape Song was the song which got me to listen to the album. It is very catchy and sums up the musical talent of the band.
The album has a mix of different tones which gives a good 'wholesome' listen overall. There are different songs which project different moods. Much of this album would not be for the mainstream music listener, with Tape Song and Getting Down the only possiblities.
The album ends with Goodnight Bad Morning, which is very slow and mellow. Overall I would say this is a must buy for Indie music lovers.
I first saw 'The Kills' at The Mighty Boosh Festival last year - and, for me, they were the most memorable part of the show. I got the album 'Midnight Boom' shortly afterwards and was not disappointed.
I liked the cover immediately; showing someone's messy bedroom - no designer decor here. Jamie Hince (from UK) and Alison Mosshart (from USA)sitting on the bed together. Everyone who listens or sees must process the question - what is their relationship? Mosshart described it in an interview (see it on youtube) as "Do or die". The back photo shows a snapshot like image of Hince with a helicopter behind him. It hints of the high life but it is tawdry. Inside, we have Mosshart holding up an old-fashioned telephone receiver + even more phone images. After getting to know the album, I feel the cd cover gets it completely right.
There is only Hince and Mosshart - both on vocals and guitars. They claim that no one else wanted to play with them so they ended up with a drum machine. They had one which they used to call 'The Little Ba****d'. which broke at a gig.
Cheap and Cheerful
Last Day of Magic
Hook and Line
What New York Used To Be
Goodnight Bad Morning
The album kicks off with 'URA fever' - a song that starts with their trademark dialling tone (which goes on and on). They both have an interest in telephones (not mobiles) that goes back through their two previous albums. The lyrics hit the right tone of seedy (casinos, jukeboxes) juxtaposed with a hint of longing and with the notion hammered home that they "ain't born typical".
The next noteworthy song (for me) was 'Getting Down', a rhythmic drone of a song with thought-provoking lyrics 'Here's a message from my old coat pocket, my spirit's alive I want you to know'. I loved it and played it repeatedly until it was a songworm that drove me mad. The Kills often use they voices as an extra instrument. On this track they repeat a phrase of "Ow, ow, ow,ow, ow etc" to an annoyingly catchy tune. Incidentally, while at a Kills gig I was walking up some stairs to the bar (on my own) making the noise of this phrase quite loudly, I turned the corner of the stairwell to find Alison Mosshart's security guy listening, standing outside what must have been her dressing room. I felt a bit of a prat.
'Last Day of Magic' was their first single from the album. Hince described the song as a tempestuous breakup song. You want to show your (ex) lover something but it's too late and they've moved on. It has lyrics that tell it how it is, "I'll be the man with a broom, if you'll be the guts in the room".
I don't know if this was written about the on/off relationship Hince has with Kate Moss but hearing it makes me think of those tabloid photos of Hince with fight marks on his face.
'Hook and Line' really reminds me of some Banshees songs, however, I don't really rate this one.
'M.E.X.I.C.O.' is a fast, short one. I enjoyed this because it involved learning to spell out Mexico really fast whilst singing along in the car. It took me quite a while. "I'm goin down the road to M.E.X.I.C.O. - C.U."
My next fave is 'Sour Cherry' which is a song with the theme of feeling that you can never get it right with your lover- "Am I the only sour cherry on your fruit stand right?" It is delivered with some force by Mosshart.
Hince's guitar work is raw yet evocative and his slighty husky vocals compliment Mosshart's emotive rants. On stage they produced some passable versions of this excellent cd.
I'm not sure if there's a next one planned. Mosshart has been doing some work with Jack Black (White Stripes) and formed a new band. It should be worth a listen.
This is definately my most favourite cd of 2008.
Being known as the boyfriend of Kate Moss may have its upsides but for Jamie Hince it's been quite the hindrance, I mean becoming tabloid fodder hardly gains you any credibility when you're attempting to prove to the world that you're a bonafide rock star. Anyway whenever I speak of my love of The Kills, I'm always met with responses of either "Oh yeah Brandon Flowers is so hot" or "Oh yeah Kate Moss' blokes band?"... Well yeah, but either tag is somewhat degrading considering how good they are.
The Kills consist of American vocalist and guitarist Alison Mosshart (VV) and British guitarist Jamie Hince (Hotel). The pair has drawn comparisons to the likes of The White Stripes due to their raw lo-fi sound and the obvious man, woman combination. As well as The White Stripes I see a lot of similarities between this duo and the likes of PJ Harvey, Pixies and Yeah Yeah Yeah's.
"Midnight Boom" is the third effort from this rather ingenious combo. Previous efforts have been met with critical success, but commercially, didn't garner much attention. "Midnight Boom" however, might change things on the commercial front. The pair manages to stay true to their lo-fi aesthetic, yet the progression in their sound is all the more apparent with each listen. The Kills have matured yet managed to combine an album of up tempo guitar anthems and edgy, infectious tunes without abandoning the sound we've come to associate them with.
Dark, twisted, bold, basic yet so effectively executed are just some of the words I would use to describe the opener. The first single "U.R.A Fever" begins with a mysterious dial tone and is hardly a taster of what's to come. Mosshart and Hince participate in a rather fierce exchange, which some might describe as slightly bitter but it somehow works. This song is hardly what I'd describe as upbeat, the repetitive thumping guitar combined with those dirty drum beats layered over the raw vocals really create the ideal album opener.
From a track so stern and dominant we come to something a little more upbeat and catchy. "Cheap and Cheerful" is an infectious tune which always gets me in the mood to dance, the addictive guitar riff and the sexy drum beats stand out on this track, and the delightfully sassy lyrics of "I want you to be crazy 'cuz you're boring baby when you're straight" highlights the feisty side of Mosshart that we know and love.
This album contains a lot of stand out tracks that I tend to play over and over again when I'm in the right mood, even the tracks I don't consider favourites are still well worth listening to. "Tape Song" is a track, which starts out quite mellow before bursting into that raw guitar. It's a good track but not one that particularly stands out to me. "Getting Down" starts with a plodding drum beat before leading into chants of "oh's" and "ah's". Not a track I would go out of my way to listen to but it has its good points in the form of the addictive drumbeat though the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. I would consider it to be one of the weaker links on an otherwise great album.
The chord progression on "Last Day of Magic" is what really makes this track stand out as one of the strongest. It's predictable as far guitar anthems go, but The Kills manage to combine their own sound with something that's been tried and tested in recent years. This track is a superb combination of catchy lyrics, bouncy synth beats and an infectious riff.
Conventional is what I would use to describe "Hook and line". It's the song that lacks any originality as it sounds like I've heard it all before, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy dancing around to it in my underwear blasted on full volume. For those of you after a powerful guitar anthem should most probably check out this track first and take it from there. Mosshart's shouty vocals come together perfectly with those roaring, dirty guitar riffs but it's the most conventional song on the album and lacks any true grit or creativity most of the other songs have going for them.
By now I'm used to a collection of thumping drumbeats and guitar hooks but the next track, "Black Balloon" takes it down a notch. Opening to a repetitive melody of clapping hands, there's a tinge of sadness to Mosshart's vulnerable vocals that make this track stand out to be a ballad with heart and substance. The inclusion of this song proves they can do delicate just as well as those sharp guitar ditties.
"M.E.X.I.C.O." is a piercing and infectious track and has one hell of a guitar riff going for it; my only problem is that it's only 1:37 long. As soon as it gets going, it's over.
"Sour Cherry" once again highlights the hand-clapping beat we've come to associate with The Kills, but it fits so nicely on this perfectly carved anthem. Possibly one of the bounciest songs on the albums, and probably the one most likely to appeal to a broader range of people. This is one of those songs you'll be bopping your head along to in no time.
"Alphabet Pony" has some pretty mystifying lyrics but somehow they make it work. Mosshart chants them with such certainty; you almost want to shout along with her. The trademark-clapping beats are also evident on this track but somehow it's still not tired.
"What New York Used To Be" is such an infectious mess with a raw sounding guitar gelling perfectly with the mish mashy drum beats. I wouldn't know where to begin describing such an exhilarating thrill of a song. The arrangement is interesting to say the least, the out of place synth beats layered over this chaos of a song only adds to the sexy manner in which Mosshart's chants the lyrics. I suggest you have a listen to this track if you like your guitar anthem's with a bit of edge.
"Goodnight Bad Morning" brings the album to a close. After a collection of gritty guitar anthems and delicious riffs we're met by something low key and mellow. This track plods along nicely; it's completely inoffensive in the way in which there are no dirty guitar hooks or overzealous chanting. After some bitter lyrics, it's nice to see a more tender side to Mosshart.
This album is nothing new or groundbreaking but it still has many things going for it. A lot of the tracks on "Midnight Boom" are linked together due to the incessant hand-clapping beat noticeable on practically every track. After 12 tracks you might think it'd be a tired notion, but somehow they manage to keep it fresh. By no means is this concept original, but The Kills make it their own.
I had no idea what to expect from their live show considering it consists of Mosshart, Hince and a drum machine. To be honest, I got what I paid for, catchy riffs I could shake my ass to, but nothing truly remarkable. Mosshart tends to wander the stage in a coked up daze whilst belting out those dulcet lyrics like she really means it. Hince on the other hand plays the part of the rock star shockingly well. Interaction with the crowd was sparse, which under normal circumstances I wouldn't approve of, but I think VV and Hotel were best left to their own devices. After all, we're just there for the music, not the conversation right?
The Kills' minimalist approach to music is possibly what adds to their appeal. This album sounds like it was recorded in a garage on a shoestring budget, but shockingly; this makes "Midnight Boom" all the more likeable. The back to basics approach that is prevalent on this album makes it apparent that this album was made with true passion and creativity, as opposed to a high budget affair recorded to please the masses. At 33 minutes long, however it's far too short for my liking, the majority of tracks cap at 3 minutes, and some of them even less than that. This is my only issue with the album.
As a third album I was impressed, I'm a big fan of the previous efforts and was not disappointed with "Midnight Boom". The Kills haven't completely abandoned the lo-fi sound we've come to associate them with, but they also haven't sold out and made an album purely for commercial success. I'm curious to see how their sound will progress and look forward to future releases.
I recommend this album universally as I think it has enough elements to please a lot of different people. I rate the album quite highly because I think there's a creative albeit not original take on something that's been done to death in recent years, but there's still enough commerciality to appeal to the masses. My pop loving friends are more than happy to bop along to The Kills in my car, but the folks who hang outside indie clubs that take every note way too seriously might find one or two riffs on this album to obsess over.
1. U.R.A. Fever
2. Cheap and Cheerful
3. Tape Song
4. Getting Down
5. Last Day of Magic
6. Hook and Line
7. Black Balloon
9. Sour Cherry
10. Alphabet Pony
11. What New York Used to Be
12. Goodnight Bad Morning
Currently available to purchase from Amazon.co.uk for £6.98.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 URA Fever
2 Cheap And Cheerful
3 Tape Song
4 Getting Down
5 Last Day Of Magic
6 Hook And Line
7 Black Balloon
9 Sour Cherry
10 Alphabet Pony
11 What New York Used To Be
12 Goodnight Bad Morning