For any artists there are many overwhelming expectations that come with the release of a third album: proponents and critics alike still want a sense of the familiarity to which they initially became endeared towards, provoking the love and lust that was acquainted with their debut and successor; but it is the importance of pushing the boundaries of said sound with an essence of interminable creativity and experimentation that everyone lays in wait to be inspired with.
Returning with ‘Midnight Boom’, The Kills have exceeded all expectations: skipping boundaries with avant-garde audacity and impunity, the album sees the boy/girl duo of Jamie Hince (Hotel) and Alison Mosshart (VV) dispense of all influences in order to seek musical clarity and rectitude. The result: an effrontery effort of sagacious progression.
‘Midnight Boom’ maintains the elements that created ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’ and ‘No Wow’, reincarnating their aloof evocations and grungy lo-fi blues call response solitudes with brooding electronic flourishes, lyrical incantations, and spatters of chemically altered and influenced guitar sounds emancipated from musical structuralism.
‘Midnight Boom’, on one hand, is an unrestrained maelstrom of contorted effects and staccato guitars chased by cathartic monosyllabic vocal spats. Opener “U.R.A. Fever” immediately injects life into the album with its simple industrial tones akin to the Nine Inch Nails, whereas “Cheap And Cheerful” splutters gracelessly into a dance infiltrated militant romp. However raucous and raw The Kills can and have been, it is the exquisite production values and polished clarity of tracks that leave you aurally hooked: the nostalgic lament of “What New York Used To Be” – a wistful amalgamation of eighties electro, hybrid trip-hop and forlorn lyrics – and the enchanting “Last Day Of Magic” that leaves ‘Midnight Boom’ somewhat bespoke.
What The Kills have offered us is an album of artistic integrity and dexterity: from the dusty ballad of “Goodnight Bad Morning” to the post-punk trip of “Alphabet Pony”, ‘Midnight Boom’ transcends sincerity, angst, artistry and pretension with lustful effects. In the same vein as their all inspiring predecessors The Velvet Underground, this may not be the band for all adhere towards, but this is an album and a band that represents a movement and declaration of boundless and self-assured experimental foresight with polarising results.