I’m so glad The Kills got rid of their old drum machine. Their last two albums were brilliant in all their sparse intensity, but the toneless bleeps really marred the sound, making what could and should have been bursting with raw power pretty monotone at times.
‘Midnight Boom’ takes a different approach to both ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’ and ‘No Wow,’ trading in the more arty post-punk sound of the latter for some pretty twisted and dark-sounding but absolute genius pop. The heavy drums are suddenly accompanied by some killer bass lines, spiky guitar and occasional synths which combine to make stomping dancefloor numbers like ‘Cheap and Cheerful’. The addition of extra instruments and handclaps manages to maintain the unrefined DIY feeling, injecting some pop sensibilities that sound like anything but.
Alison Mosshart’s vocals have to be one the highlights of the album, now sounding like a dead-ringer for a more fun version of PJ Harvey, still snarling and wailing on top of the blues-rock guitar but sometimes sounding almost playful with her tongue-in-cheek lyrics, like on ‘Sour Cherry’ where both Hince and Mosshart crone ‘I’m the only sour cherry on the stand’. Although the album is for the greater part quite a bluesy affair like their debut, the best cuts showcase a different side to the duo like the dirty pop of ‘Last Day of Magic’ and the down-tempo almost ballad of a closer ‘Goodnight Bad Morning’ which quash any potential for boredom.
All in all ‘Midnight Boom’ is a fantastic delve into the realms of pop music which won’t leave you feeling disgusting afterwards. It’s much more interesting (as even the title suggests) and dare I say fun than either of their earlier albums but just as intense and intriguing.