The Kills – Ash & Ice
Five years can be an eternity when it comes to what we feed into our ears; that which sounded daring and inventive quickly grows passé when vogue starts looking elsewhere.
Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince may have hinted at a radical departure from 2011’s Blood Pressures – a hand injury forcing Hince to play guitar in a completely different way – yet the predictable scuzziness behind Ash & Ice reinforces the impression that The Kills are merely slumming it at the sleazy end of the spectrum.
The sound may be a little fuller, the bleary angst more reflective, yet even singles Doing It to Death and Heart of a Dog suggest that we’ve travelled this way before.
Far more successful is when the duo leave trope behind; the sly urgency of Siberian Nights; the 3am cabaret of piano-led ballad That Love, Mosshart a web of dispassion – 'That love you’re in is all fucked up.' Such moments however are all-too infrequent, and while this isn’t a bad album, it does feel like a safe one (which is perhaps even worse).