The Kills - Ash and Ice - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Kills - Ash and Ice

by Jim Harris Rating:5 Release Date:2016-06-03

The Kills struck me on their first album as more hip than talented. Mosshart’s voice was, at the time, fairly represented as sounding sassy, and attitude-drenched, with just enough pout to make it sexy. But there wasn’t a whole lot of depth to any of it and the guitar-work sounded like something between karaoke and Jack White at his simplest. There wasn't much to separate this two-person band from many of the guitar/female lead/White Stripes imitators at the time.

On Ash & Ice tracks such as ‘Doing It to Death’ and ‘Heart of a Dog’, they’ve complimented their trademark static and jerky suburban blues sound with synths and noises. If you are a fan of this sound, they don’t disappoint. Mosshart does have an interesting voice, and while she might have conjured up PJ Harvey occasionally on those early albums, the opening track here has her sounding like Gwen Stefani, so this band continues a tradition of deriving success through sounding like whatever is hip at the time.

There is an interesting acoustic number that adds something to their signature sound as well as some nicely poetic and bitter lines in several of the tracks, but all and all, The Kills don’t seem, after you take away the added drum machines and synths and such, to have really broke a sweat with this, their fifth album. This band just seems, as a slick-looking duo, more image than substance. 

Again, they are missing a beat in comparison to the quirkiness of The White Stripes and, well, look at The Raveonettes, for instance. Ash & Ice just doesn’t take this band any further than any of their previous albums. For true blue fans only.

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