On the third of this month and in the 2016th year of our lord, possibly the coolest duo in music history released their fifth, and long awaited, studio album ‘Ash & Ice’. It’d been five years since the last album release by The Kills and therefore the news of a new LP came as great news and as you may have seen, and still certainly can, we got on to it immediately and looked into their first couple of new singles from the ‘Ash & Ice’ mainly second release, and second track on the album ‘Heart Of A Dog’. As mentioned, we have already touched on their first couple of new singles in another review article so we’re not going to drag this out too much and in fact what I’d mainly like to do is summarise the whole thing ahead of time and just say…
IT’S THE BEST ALBUM THIS YEAR SO FAR! BUY IT!
The Kills, or as we all know them, Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are, always have been and I assume always will be the greatest and coolest duo in rock music since probably The White Stripes, although I’d probably say Jack White was responsible for around 83% of the, coolness. Probably not a word but you know what I’m on about. Also there’s the fact that they’re from completely different sides of the world, with lead vocalist Mosshart being from ‘Murica and guitarist Hince being from right here at home in the UK, so they’ve definitely got to be the coolest international band surely, at least since the Band, but that was only Americans and Canadians. Anyway, digressing like hell. The point is that the album has maintained all of the cool we’ve come to expect from them and in fact this one has had the tempo dropped ever so slightly in relation to its predecessors, creating a more relaxed, deliberate approach but with all the edge and appeal of Keith Richards hammering out a duet with Kenickie from Grease.
The record starts with first single release ‘Doing It To Death’ and it has to be, so far, my personal favourite that 2016 has offered us as of yet. Subtly electronic, with those minimal guitar strikes we know them for and a delivery that makes you long to hear it again and again and again. I’d say it was the stand out but then again there’s a lot of great tracks such as ‘Siberian Nights’ which features this recurring note that just reminds me of ‘Beggin’ by Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons. There is a large contrast between the up tempo numbers and the more ballad style tunes and they feature in equal measure too. Along with the aforementioned three tracks, ‘Bitter fruit’, ‘Hard habit to break’ and ‘Black Tar’ lean towards the heavier side of things, whilst ‘Days Of Why And How’ which starts with a very Hip hop style beat and actually features one of my favourite vocals and catchiest chorus’ from the whole thing, ‘That Love’ and ‘Echo Home’ are all a lot steadier, sexier and relaxed. As I said, a real blend of styles and ideas, culminating in 2016’s best garage rock album, maybe best overall album and possibly the most exciting return of a band to the live performance scene too. Watch this space I guess.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)