After the overwhelming success of the White Stripes, the rock & roll rulebook changed. In this new rock order, size was no longer everything--the fewer band members, the better (boy/girl duos preferred). Minimalism replaced decadence, and drum machines even supplanted drummers without ridicule.
The Kills tested these ideas on the duo's 2003 debut, KEEP ON YOUR MEAN SIDE, to considerable accolades, and the group's second album, NO WOW, further strips down their aesthetic. In a seductive drawl, Alison Mosshart (AKA VV) tells you how she's "lost a lot of cool," and how she "hates the way you love," over and over just to make sure you heard. Jamie Hince (AKA Hotel) concerns himself with spitting out trashy guitar riffs, knowing that more than four chords per song would be wasteful. These are repetitive, deliberate rock mantras designed for a kinetic stage show. Of course, the Kills' brand of Velvet Underground-meets-PJ Harvey rock is a far cry from VV's former work with punk icons Discount, but it's no less cool--it's just an updated kind of cool (see rulebook).
Rolling Stone (No. 969, p.110) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[Compared to KEEP ON YOUR MEAN SIDE,] NO WOW is smaller, more focused, with less hip-shaking and more goth..."
Spin (p.92) - "[R]omantic defeatism can be charming if you infuse it with enough daydreaming, art-school blues." - Grade: B
Entertainment Weekly (No. 810, p.102) - "[The Kills] use overdriven riffs and ticky-tacky drum-machine beats to create a mood of sexual menace and druggy abandon..." - Grade: B
Uncut (p.96) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Grubby fun....There are exciting moments..."
Magnet (p.102) - "The Kills sound amped up, but they're not afraid to sedately wait out a lyric or riff until it implodes....NO WOW is mechanical yet sexy, and a soulful, grinding groove is key."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[I]ts claustrophobia is total, unique, spellbinding."