After a long five years between albums, The Kills new album ‘Ash & Ice’ has certainly made up for lost time. Boasting a massive 13 tracks, not one song comes even close to falling behind. The first thing you notice from their fifth studio album, is just how refined and mature it is in comparison to their earlier work. With their signature fuzzy guitar riffs, locked in grooves and smooth vocal melodies, The Kills have managed to maintain their electronic blues style while wrapping it all up in a brand new polished package.
One of the major reasons behind the prolonged release of ‘Ash & Fire’ was the potentially career ending hand injury suffered by guitarist Jamie Hince. In hindsight however, this may just have been the blessing in disguise that makes this album what it is. As Jamie describes in an interview with Joanie Eaton “There was one moment when it became such a pain in the arse that I just figured I might have to be more of a producer than a guitar player, but even that worked in my favor. I built a studio and changed the way I was writing which I think you can definitely hear that on the new record.”. Well Jamie, you were right. Without a doubt you can hear a change in this new record, trading the Lo-Fi sounding aesthetics of the past in favor of a fresh dose of slick modern production.
In Ash & Ice, each individual sound and instrument is sculpted to perfection. The drums are heavily programmed compared to older albums, mixed nice and dry for taste. This production technique has paid off, allowing for a massive amount of space behind the main instrumentation. Which is great, because it means the rough and raw guitar licks now feature front and center, creating an intimate effect that lets you to feel the raw emotion in the playing. Now, when you couple this with the amazing voice of Alison Mosshart this album begins to take shape as one of the finest produced albums of the year. Especially when you consider The Kills’ career thus far, Ash & Ice has just taken it even further, an album they can be proud of.
How It Stacks Up
4.2 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ◊
Doing It To Death
Hard Habit To Break
Let It Drop