The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side

The Kills - One boy named Hotel, One girl named VV. One English, One American. Both play guitar. No need for a bass player and the only beats you'll be hearing are from the little broken box in the corner.

On paper it's not the most attractive proposition and doesn't bode well for "Keep On Your Mean Side". The simple fact is that if you're going to choose a pseudonym at least make it a decent one, although in truth the fact that they are called Jamie and Alison respectively begs the question just which exactly would be the worst rock & roll names to go under. The drum machine is a stroke of genius because there's nothing worse than getting two compatible band members in the room who ooze chemistry from every pore only to bring in a drummer called Bob who's a friend of a friend of a friend and then place him behind an ugly drum kit while he tries his best to understand the in-jokes between the other members.

But strip away the theory of rock & roll and what you're left with is raw dirty sleazy blues. Sometimes it hit's the mark. Sometimes it doesn't. Throughout the forty minutes it has the kind of confidence and don't give a f**k attitude that Elastica's debut album had by the bucket load and incidentally VV sounds like an American carbon copy of Justine Frischman. The albums standout tracks are undoubtedly the single "Fried My Little Brains", the much talked about "F**k the People" and live favourite "Cat Claw" which ride on this hypnotic groove. Unlike the majority of the Detroit garage scene, The Kills condense every song to the bare essentials so you never get any fret w**king from the egotistical cocained to the eyeballs lead guitarist.

"Keep On Your Mean Side" which has suffered because it's been released after a solid twelve months of blues influence garage rock and had it been released a year ago there's no doubt it would have been hailed a classic. The truth is there's only so long we can sing the blues for and while the Kills are a shot to the head live, on record it's a case of too little too late.

Alex McCann

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