When female vocalist and guitarist Alison Mosshart (under the moniker VV) moved to London to join her male counterpart Hotel (born Jamie Hince) and form The Kills in 2000, the indie rock community was very much thankful. While it is highly doubtful that they based much of their sound on Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 2006 album Show Your Bones, the blues-punk duo’s latest release Midnight Boom owes a lot to that spastic New York trio. The Kills and Midnight Boom are one extensive rock formula: Add woeful Detroit-based blues a la The Von Bondies to the sass and sex appeal of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O, minus the over-the-top energy and goddess-like presence and performance, and multiply it all by anthemic electronic-influenced tracks. Add water and you’ll get an indie classic.
The sexy-voiced VV leads The Kills; she unleashes seductive croons on the sensual opening track “U.R.A. Fever” and the more aggressive yet equally seductive “Tape Song.” That’s not to say that Hotel’s vocals are overlooked, as his scratchy voice meshes perfectly with VV on the impressive hidden gem “Last Day of Magic” and “Getting Down.” A bit of a silly throwaway track, “Alphabet Pony” showcases The Kills’ full grasp of punk, as does “M.E.X.I.C.O.”
Ultimately, it’s VV’s personal aside on “Black Balloon,” which bears a close resemblance to Karen O’s emotionally charged soliloquy “Warrior” on Bones, that displays the blues-infused sound the duo has mastered, as does the ballad-like closer “Goodnight Bad Morning.” The Kills are as raw and alive as blues-punk gets, and Midnight Boom is the crowning jewel of the still-burgeoning genre, as it mixes hard-hitting punk with blues balladry to create music for today’s angry youth.