It’s been seven years since American-British duo The Kills have released an LP. Earlier this year, the duo – consisting of vocalist Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jamie Hince – announced their long-awaited return to music in true Kills fashion with a photo of them looking effortlessly cool posing with a muscle car in the streets of Los Angeles. Nothing has changed, then. They remain one of the few active acts from the early-’00s garage-rock explosion and their legacy is secure.
Where 2016’s ‘Ash & Ice’ saw the duo kick away limitations and begin their transition into a louder, less minimalistic sound, on ‘God Games’, Hince and Mosshart arrive with an even bolder reinvention. This time around, they’re leaning into sonics and grandeur while still retaining the chic edge the indie world saw on 2003 debut ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’.
‘New York’ opens with a sonic boom, a cacophony of dramatic horns and a sleek guitar riff. Mosshart’s raspy voice sings “You taste just like New York Before a storm takes hold / You race like you are high and armed /And I’m alarmed,” comparing a lover to the city that never sleeps with its constant intensity and ideology that it can either make or break you. On the other coast, we’re “caught up in all of the drama and all of the fuss,” on ‘LA Hex’. The two sing in unison while warped trumpets and a glitchy beat blend together in the background. It’s proof that Hince and Mosshart’s grit and glamour is alive and well.
Their band’s hiatus gave them a blank canvas and the ability to break out of their comfort zone, trying things that wouldn’t have been possible within a stricter timeframe. ‘Love and Tenderness’ and ‘Kingdom Come And Get It’ both highlight a bass groove, with the latter sounding like something that would be heard on Soul Train; it makes for one of their most unique tracks to date.
‘103’ and ‘Blank’ spotlights keys and piano, bringing them to the forefront in an unexpected twist rather than the usual gritty guitar which was the star in the band’s earlier works. This time around, textures and sounds took priority, building layers and definitions within each song.
‘God Games’ serves as a testament to their new era, one that sees them push each other out of their comfort zones and explore new ways to keep adapting their iconic sound, providing a grand and edgy comeback that is as fresh as can be.
The Kills ‘God Games’ album artwork
Release date: October 27
Record label: Domino Recording Co.
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