Alternative music reviews

The Kills

Pull A U July 2003

When Real Madrid bring on David Beckham in the 85th minute just because they can you know they're just doing it to show off. And similarly here The Kills exhibit their strength-in-depth by releasing 'Pull A U', about the 6th best track from the enchanting 'Keep On Your Mean Side' LP, as the second single. It remains, however, a cut above. VV's yearning vocals are fascinating as she entones "I'm not trying to wake you up" over an infectious riff. The highlight of the track is, however, when Hotel appears to rip into the guitar producing short bursts of brilliance. B-side 'The Search for Cherry Red' is a fairly nice duet but sadly lacking in tune. 'Pull A U', however, demands your attention - show offs.

Review by Alex Lawson
Nottingham Rescue Rooms 16 March 2003

In 2001 a little-known Detroit band called The White Stripes toured the UK. The response was amazing; tabloid articles, top-selling albums and world tours followed. Their retro-blues had touched millions and led to success for other past-miners such as The Soledad Brothers, The Von Bondies and The Dirtbombs. There was, as Jon Spencer would put it, a Blues Explosion! And so it is for another of these bands we attend Nottingham’s newest, and best, new music venue. But don’t be confused The Kills are no bandwagon-jumpers. Having served time in obscure rock outfits for nearly a decade, Hotel and VV (aka Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart) now play their first UK headline tour.

It’s now; three songs into a set so enthralling the crowd have forgotten they hold any human form but a pair of eyes, that all becomes clear. VV looks, not out to her adoring fans (“you’re beautiful love” one patron remarks post-gig), but to her partner in crime across the stage who stares intently back. It feels like you’ve just walked in on some older boys and girls snogging and are trying to watch undetected. VV purrs through ‘Superstition’ whilst smoking her third fag in ten minutes. Hotel rips at his guitar during ‘Pull A U’, tearing each chord out of the amps standing next to the quietly beating drum machine. ‘Fuck the People’ and ‘Black Rooster’ pass anthemically, the latter featuring the sight of each singing “you wanna fuck and fight” to the other- get a room guys!

Then everything goes quiet, mikes are moved closer and VV lights up another. ‘Kissy, Kissy’ follows; on record it takes the air of a swashy sub-Mary Chain number, live it is a compelling love letter. As VV moves round him the word chemistry ceases to be forever associated with learning what atoms make up a carrier bag. As the leading lady releases the yearning lyrics “it’s been a long time coming”, she hurls the barely smoked fag into the speakers – it’s an epiphany. Cheers emit from the crowd, the two small, thin chemists on stage merely continue in each other’s eyes. And then they’re gone, forty minutes of encapsulating rock and roll draw to a close.

So what are they, PJ Harvey with blues riffs? Stripes imitators? Or just maybe an experiment worth so much more than just a fuck and a fight.

Review and photos by Alex Lawson

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