Midnight Boom is the third full-length from the garage duo The Kills - which is VV (Allison Mosshart former lead singer of Discount) and Hotel (Jamie Hince formerly the guitarist of Blyth Power and Scarfo) - following No Wow (2005) and Keep on Your Mean Side (2003). Having a liking to their second record, I feel some excitement for Midnight Boom while at the same time am not entirely sure what to expect from the album; but, knowing the changes that are evident between the first two albums, there is a good chance that there will be a noticeable change for this one. Aesthetically though, this album seems to follow through with The Kills "image" that they continually put forth, ever since their first appearance on record anyway.
Midnight Boom starts with a bang, better known as "U. R. A. Fever." The song has some severe sounding guitars that somehow mesh with a surprising hip-hop rhythm and feel to create one hell of a first single. The vocals are great sounding as both VV and Hotel sing in an almost threatening/boasting tone that somehow comes off in a very sing along type manner. It would be remiss of me to not make mention that the "Born to Hand Jive" (remember Grease? Yeah you do, the scene during the dance competition ) that is not just present by more or less dominates "Cheap and Cheerful". VV's vocal performance in "Tape Song" is one of my favorites from her ever, and for the life of me, I do not understand why. The delivery absolutely makes the song. The lullaby quality of parts of "Black Balloon" makes for some exquisite weirdness; the only thing that the song is missing among its finger snaps and hand claps is the singing of children to accompany VV's performance and make the track one of the creepiest ever. The sing-along or chanting vocal arrangements sound out across the whole album in different places, and the band mentions that this is intentional as they emulate playground games and rhymes with their compositions on Midnight Boom. And to that attempt, The Kills are indeed successful because that feel is present.
Now, this record plays in my house on a regular basis because my wife is super into The Kills, and although their last album No Wow is still enjoyable, there is a real sense of doubt as to how much I actually like this latest album. However, seeing the songs off Midnight Boom in a live setting makes them leave more of a stamp when listening on the stereo. Being the band's third full-length, there is quite a bit of ground work that the band has established through touring since the first album, Keep on Your Mean Side and their first EP (which actually comes first in the release chronology), Black Rooster that is evident with the amount of press that is around for the new record. In all seriousness, seeing The Kills live not only gives me a new appreciation for the songs that I found so good before witnessing them in person, but the new songs which skepticism and doubt clouded my ability to enjoy are now more vivid and entertaining. For a two-piece, The Kills translate extremely well in a live environment with their songs being even more sexed up and trashy than they are on record.
7.1 / 10
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