The title track of the second full-length CD from the Kills opens with a warning from vocalist VV (a.k.a. Alison Mosshart) — “You’re gonna have to step over my dead body / before you walk out that door” — and percolates with pressurized anxiety for almost three minutes before satisfyingly detonating. For the Kills, executing their minimalist sonic blitz with nothing more than a guitar, a drum machine and a lyrically unflinching fuck-you resolve is all in a day’s work, and however miscalculated the formula might seem, it plays out with startling genius.
Slinging cryptic and jarring lines with nothing less than spry aplomb, VV breathes nervy and hot-blooded life into statements like “A body split in two doesn’t know how to sleep” that glut No Wow. Hoisted by the snarling guitar ballast of numbing blues buzz and skewered garage rock hooks courtesy of Hotel (a.k.a. Jamie Hince), the album teems with a streamlined fury that isn’t curtailed by pristine or otherwise exaggerated production.
“Rodeo Town” and “Ticket Man” slow the tempo of the latter half of the album and proffer balance to the more manic moments found in tracks like “Dead Road 7” and the first single off No Wow, “The Good Ones.” While the duo’s debut Keep on Your Mean Side remains more accessible than No Wow, it is not as thrilling a listen to defuse. No Wow exhibits a lurid world, one where unpredictability makes for a perfect MO and opposites contend with animalistic savoir-faire; evil roughs up good, hate nixes love, and dark ingests light. But VV and Hotel sound best and at home in the midst of it all — especially when they torch the place in “Love Is a Deserter ” – and it would be contradictory of the Kills to walk away unscathed by the nihilistic essentiality of their art.
[Jory Dominguez hates the way you love.]