At the core of The Kills is a bluesy, anthemic and uniquely alternative sound. Alison Mosshart brings a country edge to Jamie Hince's rousing soul-bareing guitar style and both fuse perfectly to form an effortlessly cool sound.
Meeting in the middle collaboratively The Kills show just how much the two-piece can be an epic partnership with just the right amount of creativity to bounce off and inspire each other ... not too many cooks with so many great ingredients make for an awesomely delicious, perfectly constructed mix.
Ash & Ice, their fifth studio album is out now, with more electronic elements on this album ... it was great to see them live at Isle of Wight Festival to get the full live atmospheric experience of the new songs.
Alison explained "one of the first songs that Jamie brought for the record was called 'Ash and Ice,' and we loved the title. He does that all the time -- he just starts with the title and he hasn’t written a word for the actual song. I guess he was sitting at some bar or some party or someone’s house, and it was just like people ashing into a glass of ice, in that disgusting thing that you just see all the time." Jamie says "I had a drink, and I just threw my cigarette in this glass of ice, and it was just as simple as that. It was like ash and ice, and I said I’ll just call it that. Which is kind of dull. I wish I’d come up with a better story, but that’s the truth of it. And I just like the connotation. It just sort of sounded right, and I liked the idea of it being these two opposite souls. I liked it being the idea of someone with a joint in one hand and a drink in the other."
The album was five years in the making in part due to Jamie five hand surgeries, resulting in him having to re-learn how to play guitar with a permanently damaged finger. It was during Hince’s recuperation from surgery that he first started sketching out what would become the songs for the album. To shake up the writing process, Hince booked a solo trip on the infamous Trans-Siberian Express for inspiration while Alison Mosshart, now residing in Nashville, wrote some of the most affecting, poetically candid lyrics that she ever has, painting word pictures that mine the dangerous terrain between romantic obsession, prophecy and tough love.
The first single from Ash & Ice Doing It To Death was amazing live, some tracks have more of a menacing edge ... you can see why they've been picked up by TV shows like Peaky Blinders for their fiercely dynamic, dark and soulful sound that would not be out of place set to any gritty, gripping imagery and makes for great music to stride about to in your own little world.
Now over a decade old No Wow still hits you right in the gut with its pure driving bassline rolling along like a quickened heartbeat, combined with Alison's sultry vocals as the song builds so does the onstage performance. Such a great song to hear played out over a festival as we approached dusk, the audience certainly were wow'd.
Even with their slower songs it is hard not to get totally immersed in their rich well thought out sound. Kissy Kissy parallels a long and winding road where you can imagine you're riding in a convertible across the US ... even if you are standing somewhere in a field in Hampshire.
In such an amazingly captivating set we witnessed awesome renditions of our favourites U.R.A. Fever ... Cheap & Cheerful ... Black Balloon and so many more.
Having been a staple favourite band of ours for a good few years now, we were drenched with anticipation to finally catch them live. It is always slightly nerve-racking to see a band you already admire perform to see how they translate live - we needn't have worried! Jamie & Alison's exuberant set really added an extra dimension to the music, showing us how live music should be .. full of passion and personality, expertly delivered with captivating flair.