The fourth studio album from the American-British duo The Kills maintains the precedent set by their previous releases; staple ingredients include expressive rhythm tracks, minimal instrumentation, catchy blues guitar riffs and low key duets. Actually, it is surprising how much fullness comes out of this two-piece, even during their live act. While Jamie Hince’s guitar excursions and Alison Mosshart’s smokey lead vocals are the foundation of their less-is-more approach, every plucked string or drum sequence earns distinct airtime. The Kills avoid using exaggerated reverb effects, circumventing any walls of sound that might hide their musical elements. What you hear is what you get, and what you get is a stable, no frills record that is quite understated.
The urge to turn up the overdrive and blast out a rock anthem solo must be overwhelming for Hince, nicknamed “Hotel,” given his penchant for creating super catchy riffs. Instead, his disciplined approach to the six-string blends seamlessly with Mosshart, a.k.a. “VV’s,” pleasing, punk-infused melodies.
Not to be typified in their role, they opt to tinker with a different set of moods in “Wild Charms” and “The Last Goodbye,” the latter completely diverging from the minimalist rock criteria by electing to have strings and a soft piano support a gorgeous, sorrowful melody. This track becomes a gateway to the almost trip-hop feel in the chorus of “Damned If She Do,” proving The Kills bring legitimacy to their craft by having the ability to produce a mood exactly as they envision it.
Blood Pressures is a complete record that can be enjoyed in its entirety. The hallmarks of the band, namely great musicianship and songwriting, shine through clearly as the duo continue to impress.