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Record Review


While the garage-punk movement has almost every niche filled, the Kills' Jamie "Hotel" Hince and Alison "VV" Mosshart have stumbled on a small gap, playing directly to one's inner devil while disguising traditional blues riffs in a guttural, almost-mechanical distemper. The Kills tie you to the bed and break out the leather for their first full-length, Keep on Your Mean Side, their gritty, derivative, sexually charged raunch recalling that of Royal Trux. Vocally they approximate a collaboration between PJ Harvey and Blur's Damon Albarn.

"Cat Claw" features this year's "Hey Baby" refrain -- "Got it? I want it" ad nauseum. "Kissy Kissy" could be a B-side from Blur's 13 -- up until VV enters with her most reserved vocal contribution on the album. The duo sings in layers rather than harmonizing, creating a similar sing-along vibe to Danish sensations the Raveonettes. On "Wait," VV drops her PJ inclination in favor of a more varied approach closer to Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

"Black Rooster" is the album's fullest track. Prominent drums mix with droning riffage, forming a background to the call-and-response vocals (Hotel: "You wanna fuck and fight?" VV: "In the basement").

If you like languish with your garage rock, your order has been filled.

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