The Kills Keep on Your Mean Side

[Domino; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: minimal rock
Others: Suicide, Jesus & Mary Chain, PJ Harvey

Oh, oh, here we go again. Every year there seems to be a band that is compared to the ever-popular White Stripes. This time around, it is The Kills’ turn to earn the title. But fortunately for them, they only resemble The White Stripes in their one-two posture. Other than that, The Kills show no signs of being the next garage-blues conquerors. 

The Kills are Hotel (Jamie Hince) and VV (Alison Mosshart), two hard-nosed, raw and dynamic performers singing the blues reminiscent of P.J. Harvey and Royal Trux. And the album, Keep on your Mean Side, is authentic rock minimalism. Driven by back and forth, intense vocals and powerful, vigorous guitar assault, Keep on your Mean Side is an impressive debut album from the young duo. But in these times of super groups, how will this album rank? 

Perhaps the only word that comes to mind is ‘average’. This may be dreadful if you are an indie band that has created a really great record in your career and follow with a mediocre release, but for The Kills’ debut album, average is a good place to be. Simplicity as never been this accessible in indie music, nowadays. Bands like Broken Social Scene and Mogwai spend a lot of time crafting their songs; the term ‘average’ may be an insult for them. But for The Kills and the sound that they unleash, it may be the best compliment given.

Keep on your Mean Side is full of catchy, boozy anthem. “Cat Claw” may very well be the most stimulating single on the entire album. And sexuality runs rampant through the record with such hip and addictive songs as “Hitched” and “Kissy, Kissy”. The whole album is admirable, harmonious and likeable, but if it wasn’t for the fame of the sound and appearance, would The Kills get any attention at all?

Perhaps not, but for now, The Kills can shriek and exclaim to all the fans of The White Stripes and other bands of the genre, “You Want It/I Got It”.

1. Superstition
2. Cat claw
3. Pull a U
4. Kissy kissy
5. Fried my little brain
6. Gypsy death and you
7. Hand
8. Hitched
9. Black rooster
10. Wait
11. Fuck the people
12. Monkey 23

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