Album Review The Kills - Black Balloon EP

The underlying sensuality has always been one of the more interesting aspects of the band.

Far from the bombast of the rest of their fantastic full-length ‘Midnight Boom’, ‘Black Balloon’ is a toned-down, brooding track that resonates well even without the volume turned up to ten. It’s a haunting, wistful song that reminds of the refuge offered by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps’ amidst the swelling storm of ‘Fever To Tell’. Alison Mosshart carries a majority of this song with her mournful vocals, with Jamie Hince’s guitar remaining muted for the first half of the track. But the song is really all about the chorus, with it’s memorable and catchy refrain, subtle guitar accompaniment and nuanced keyboards. And by the time you reach the floating, echoey ‘ah ah ah ah’ bridge, forget about it, the song becomes an absolute smash.

Layer upon layer of sound and emotion is laid upon the spare groundwork of the beginning of the song, with different sheets of guitar being added alongside the delicate hand-clap percussion and understated vocals, which builds slowly as the song reaches its cathartic finish. The kiss-off phrase ‘Let the weather have it’s way with you’ is simply perfect, and is repeated almost as if Mosshart is still convincing herself to believe in her words and finally let go. It’s a stunning song when all the pieces come together, and is a brilliant single from a truly outstanding album.

The EP is rounded out with equally impressive material; stellar iTunes session tracks, with nary an unlistenable cast-off in the bunch. There is a delicate, acoustic cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’ that showcases Mosshart’s pure, sultry voice. ‘Keep On Your Mean Side’s ‘Kissy Kissy’ also gets the acoustic treatment, with VV and Hotel sharing vocals throughout the superb stripped down version driven along by Hince’s exquisite guitar work. ‘Midnight Boom’’s ‘Sour Cherry’ closes out the EP on a strong note, with an electrified interpretation more akin to the album version, but no less affecting. The bands interplay and the underlying sensuality has always been one of the more interesting aspects of the band, in addition to their stellar songs, and all of those gifts are on full display throughout this excellent EP.


Tags: The Kills, Album Reviews, Reviews

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