Two more albums getting plenty of plays over the past while.
The Kills are another of 2011’s surprises. Yes I had been acutely aware of this duo’s talent but say for a few songs, their albums just never did it for me.
However, latest album Blood Pressures has absolutely blown that assumption to smithereens as they push the parameters of their guitar/drum-machine set-up to its very limit.
Blood Pressures is a fantastic record seeping with clanking, sleazy and dark snarling blues/punk hybrid. It melds the chugging, melancholic dub-tinged skanking rhythm of ‘Satellite’ with the likes of ‘Future Starts Slow’, ‘DNA’ and ‘Nail in My Coffin’ which drip with post-punk guitar riffs and pure aggression. There is even some sultry crooning of the brooding ballad ‘The Last Goodbye’ and ‘Baby Says’.
Blood Pressures really plays to the strengths of Mosshart’s vocals and Hince’s guitar playing, both of which seem effortlessly cool. It is mystifying how just two people can make such a raucous racket, but in no uncertain terms, Blood Pressures is the most complete record of their career.
It seems like an eternity since Arctic Monkeys exploded on to the scene rattling out reckless spiky indie-punk and singing about ‘dancing to electro-pop like a robot from 1984’. 2009’s Humbug, saw them move out of their comfort zone and into darker, weirder terrain proving they had much more in the tank than maybe some had expected.
Album number four, Suck It And See changes tack quite a bit, it isn’t a step back to the Monkeys of old but yet a further departure. They’ve traded in the kitchen sink approach for swooning swagger, it seems our Alex has found a certain romance and seems pretty content. No surprise the rasp has been reigned in, his vocals ripened into a honeyed croon a la his recent Submarine EP.
The record oozes with warmth and a glowing feeling of sentimentality none more so than Black Treacle’, ‘Suck It And See’ and ‘Reckless Serenade, while ‘Piledriver Waltz’, ‘Love Is A Lazerquest’ and ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ are similar but more melancholic. They have found a nice groove, something they are comfortable embracing.
There are dark and dirty rocky moments too like ‘Don’t Sit Down Because I Moved Your Chair’, ‘Library Pictures’ and ‘All My Own Stunts’, which sound much like hangovers from Humbug. ‘That’s Where You’re Wrong’ brings the curtain down in style with a terrific stirring indie-rock rendition (the chords sound remarkably like those from Humanzi’s ‘Out On A Wire’).
The four skinny indie kids from 2006 are growing up fast. In true Arctic’s fashion the music is reflective of their lives, albeit lives that have changed dramatically but the quality remains intact.In 2011, Arctic Monkeys remain as fresh and important as ever. In short Suck It And See is full of beautiful tunes, beautifully played and beautifully produced.