The Kills – Midnight Boom

Midnight Boom, the new studio album from The Kills, kinda reminds me of a snaggle-toothed hooker dressed in a white taffeta wedding dress. It seems prettied up, but she might still kick you in the balls at the altar.

The Kills’ latest offering is their most accessible yet. I won’t use that diabolical word –  “mature’, but it’s close. Midnight Boom is just that little bit less caustic, just a tad less raw, than Keep On Your Mean Side (2003) and No Wow (2005). But, and it’s a big but, they’ve still maintained that frenetic fuck-you darkness that I love about these guys. It has that low-fi, dirty simplicity that makes The Kills a standout duo in a sea of indie-electro stunned mullet floaters.

You can still hear the Sonic Youth influence in Midnight Boom. They seemed to have sucked the marrow of that enormous bone almost dry and come out fat bellied – but definitely more refined. Midnight Boom still has those busted, discordant licks that have dominated the first two albums, but there are some great slower melodic ones in here as well. Tracks like Black Ballon and Goodnight Bad Morning are beautifully dark slow rollers that provide a contrast to more standard grinder tracks like Hook and Line and Cheap and Cheerful.

The thing about Midnight Boom that stands out for me isn’t the high quality simplicity of the individual tracks, but more the way the whole album rolls together. This album, more than the previous two, seems to hold together for all its diversity. Midnight Boom has all those thick, jangling tracks that leave you wondering how they get away with that fragmented, buzz saw rawness, but it’s also pretty hefty as a whole album. The tracks stick to you one after another until you feel like you’ve been wallpapered over.

Maybe not as hard or as demonstrative as their earlier stuff, Midnight Boom still has that dedicated, foot to the floor, feeling. The Kills might have graduated from an over-powered underweight teeny-bopper WRX, but they’re still styling – only in a big fat V12 Jag with torn leather seats and a busted headlight.