IT would have taken The Kills a few years and as many stitches to come back into the worshipped limelight and Ash & Ice is quite simply, a perfect return for the band.
The simple fact that Jamie Hince can play the guitar again is nothing short of a miracle, having undergone a series of surgeries on his hand after smashing a finger in a car door, the guitarist/producer/sorcerer of the band had to re-adapt and learn to play all over again.
During his rehabilitation, when his priceless asset was convalescing, he spent his time listening to music rather than playing it, arranging and programming drums rather than performing melodies.
This unfortunate musical banishment led the band to reinvent itself.
The result is a powerful and intricate, obscure but still highly glossy opus. The addition of a live drummer to the set-up seems to have unlocked some precious and unknown abilities, pushing the limits of a recovering guitarist and a celebrated vocalist further away.
Every song holds the power to fasten or slow the pace down dramatically. ‘Doing it to Death’ and ‘Heart of a Dog’ are the songs that first propel that “Kills’ feeling”, the drums are heavy yet slow while Mosshart’s voice pierces through the melody with her slick tone and the guitar rips everything in between to shred.
‘Hard Habit to Break’ dives into the mysticism of being consumed by a bad relationship while not seeing any way out. The song’s architecture works perfectly to expose the confusion relative to such a situation, the carnivalesque drums at the start of the song are surprisingly uplifting but this feeling fades out as the song goes forward.
The first pit stop is ‘Days or Why and How’, this effervescent slow burner lets Mosshart bear the entire song on her shoulders, delivering some of the most powerful lyrics of the album with a reckless voice that almost threatens to breaks at the end of the track.
What makes The Kills so different, apart from their over-discussed cool attitude towards music, is the fact that they seem to be able to morph different genres altogether and make the outcome their own essence and that itself empowers their music.
While ‘Hum your Buzz’ and ‘That Love’ are sentimentally driven by Mosshart’s crystalline voice, ‘Impossible Tracks’ and ‘Black Tar’ are fuel-driven guitar gems that make your blood race.
‘Siberian Night’ shines like the most unpredictable song of the album, from the beginning that reminisces of the shower scene song in Psycho the song takes off with the bass line that throws the listener on an opaque and anxious musical journey towards one of the most exciting track of the album.
Ash & Ice is an album that proves that The Kills have the ability to shape a universe of their own, one where they rule like king and queen, a place in space in time where musical guidelines and genres can be transformed and where only HOTEL and VV have the right ingredients to create these lingering harmonious jewels.