The Kills – Ash & Ice
After a five-year hiatus, the songwriting duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince return as The Kills with their brand new studio album Ash & Ice, a heady mix of broody vocals and a blend of both electronic and acoustic-inspired drums.
Doing It to Death speaks as a foretelling of the impending aural experience, with tribal drumbeats and basic, repetitive guitar licks offering no sense of growth or originality. The same musical method worked for Mosshart during her days in The Dead Weather in the 00s, but having inspired many heavier groups (and rightly so), she returns to her old technique instead of experimenting with new material. Standing in as the first track on the album, Doing It to Death is a song that should have packed more of a punch.
The energy of Ash & Ice does begin to build to a climax, with Siberian Nights stepping in as a more upbeat, driven tune and a punchy bass line supporting well-crafted lyrics. Despite this, the song remains at the same level throughout leaving you waiting for a drop that isn’t about to arrive any time soon.
Following the aforementioned is That Love, which works as one of the softer songs, but ultimately disjoints the album’s flow and feels more anticlimactic compared to its predecessor. This being said, Mosshart’s sensual vocals add a somewhat ethereal air to the track, with the deeper quality of the lyrics made ever more poignant by her charming, soulful tone.
The rest of the album meshes into one with Days of Why & How sounding like a condensed version of the first four tracks and Bitter Fruit struggling to find the balance between a driving rhythm and pure monotony. Let It Drop at least offers a break from the invariability of the previous numbers with an honest use of contrast suggesting an anthemic attempt, however this, too, falls short.
Although it has a few brief references to contemporary R’n’B influences (listen to some of the more electronic drums with that in mind), Ash & Ice does not necessarily bring anything new to the table. It’s a pleasant and easy listen, though one can’t help but wonder whether Mosshart and Hince are playing it too safe.
If you appreciate the early work of The Dead Weather and some of The Black Keys’ less raunchy material, consider adding this record to your collection.
Ash & Ice is released on 3rd June 2016, for further information or to order the album please visit here.
Watch the video for Siberian Nights here: