p. The U.K. garage thrashers, The Kills, return from a three-year hiatus for their third studio album, “Midnight Boom,” bringing scratchy, abrasive sounds and fresh lyrics to the forefront. Unlike the White Stripes and other female-male duos, Allison “VV” Mosshart and James “Hotel” Hince turn away from the bluesy-rock archetype to lift their sound to an unsteady cool.
p. With their first single, “U.R.A. Fever,” Mosshart and Hince exchange sassy vocals to heighten the grainy guitar licks under sleek, laidback tones. With lyrics like, “You are a fever / You are a fever / You ain’t born typical,” spoken over a telephone dial tone, the song delivers an inventive groove befitting to their style.
p. Tracks like “Sour Cherry” and “Getting Down” breed high energy, mid-tempo fire-starters, providing bouncy melodies, hand claps and onomatopoeic echoes.
p. For bitter and atmospheric overtones, The Kills dip into slow, melancholic moods on the finale song, “Goodnight Bad Morning.” Smooth piano chords and humming guitar licks fulfill the rest of the sweet, nostalgic track.
p. Overall, this short but stingy album keeps the listener attentive to the band’s balance between ultra-sexy and rough indie styles. The Kills still manage their flare for erratic guitars and creative beats, adding more chemistry to an already appealing sound.
p. Verdict = 3 stars.