The Kills – No Wow (CD Review)

The original art rock duo have released a sequel to the outstanding debut album ‘Keep on Your Mean Side‘ back in 2003. The sound of The Kills is sometimes similar to the more well known Yeah Yeah Yeahs except there’s more balls, little time for sentimentality and a fervent worship of the bass.


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‘No Wow’ starts with the titular track launching the listener into the buzzing guitar chops that set the scene for the dirty raw and uncompromising Kills sound before exploding into the angular guitars, drum machine beats and screamingly sexy vocals of ‘Love Is A Deserter’. Continuing with a bass like a panicked heartbeat ‘Dead Road 7’ conjures the empty sound of travelling; taking with it echoes of Pere Ubu and Nick Cave in its punked up gothic Americana.

The recent single, ‘The Good Ones’, has a lightness of Casio disco beats that, as this hymn to hedonism unfurls, are wrenched apart by the fuzz bass. ‘I Hate The Way You Love’ is a jagged edged missive with Alison’s sultry stridency is one of the real high points describing the frustration of a love-hate situation. It is brilliantly reprieved as a resigned, almost post-coital murmur in part two.

The energy is built back up by the interference fuelled guitars of ‘At The Back Of The Shell’ before the pounding bass and tense licks of the axe backing the sedately psychotic vocals of ‘Sweet Cloud’ provide a deeply cool and uneasy ride. Seeming strangely incongruous given its company, ‘Rodeo Town’ is easily the most traditional rock track on the album; relatively speaking it’s a ballad, but with a chugging backing, piercing beats and the ever-present bass. The fire truly returns with ‘Murdermile’, a track that brings the rawness back in spades with crashing, yelping, pulsing and fragmented guitars. Further energy and menace is added by Jamie’s low drawl and Alison’s defiant cries that contrast and combine throughout.

The album closes with the metronomic beats of ‘Ticket Man’ like a beat poem that turns in on itself juggling it words and bringing the listener back down after the ferocity of the tracks that precede it.

‘No Wow’ is an unbelievably vibrant and powerful album that takes no prisoners, pulls no punches and has real heart.

Label : Domino

Release Date : 21 February 2005

Website :


  • No Wow
  • Love Is A Deserter
  • Dead Road 7
  • The Good Ones
  • I Hate The Way You Love
  • I Hate The Way You Love Part 2
  • At The Back Of The Shell
  • Sweet Cloud
  • Rodeo Town
  • Murdermile
  • Ticket Man

The Kills are Alison “VV” Mosshart and Jamie “Hotel” Hince.

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