The Kills
No Wow
/rough trade; 2005/


This latest release by The Kills is the perfect example of poseur indie rock.  I’ll admit that there are a few decent songs here, but man oh man I can’t remember the last time I listened to something imbued with such a self conscious air of cool mimicry.  It works for The Strokes, right?  There are tons of other bands that are capable of adopting a style and reframing it with their own sense of purpose, offering up something fresh and exciting.  Where bands like The Black Keys are dressed up in genre while still managing to put out unique, interesting records, The Kills are simply dressed up, unable to get past the stage of imitation and shtick.  Nothing beyond proving that they are capable of such an effort exists.  Does this mean the music is bad?  Well, it all depends on how you let this light of circumstance affect your judgment.  Me?  It affects mine big time.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the songs.  Since this is an imitation record, real in depth reviewing should be put on hold.

  1. No Wow Now  (no reason for it to exist)
  2. Love Is A Deserter (yeah, right)
  3. Dead Road 7 (thinks it’s too cool for school)
  4. The Good Ones (cool song, the best song on the album)
  5. I Hate The Way You Love (meh)
  6. I Hate The Way You Love (Part 2) (a nice slow song)
  7. At The Back Of The Shell (waka waka)
  8. Sweet Cloud (not bad)
  9. Rodeo Town (a really nice song, second best on the album)
  10. Murdermile (ok)
  11. Ticket Man (sure)

The Kills should be lumped into the category containing bands like Jet, The Killers and The ‘so-awful-it’s-scary’ Datsuns; bands that are hip to style and not much else.  Upon my very first listen, No Wow struck me as having been rushed and ill considered.  When I found out that the whole thing was written, recorded and packaged almost as quick as possible my opinions were justified.  It really does sound like a couple of people entered the studio and banged out the best songs they could think of, applying everything they know about sleazy rock in the process.  When people say that this record is sleazier and sexier than their last, it’s only because there is nothing else that you can say about it.  This isn’t PJ Harvey, or The White Stripes, or anything else you may have heard.  This is the imitation food products you see on grocery store shelves that cost 20% less.  Don’t give The Kills any money for this; it sounds really nice, but you yourself could have made the songs on No Wow.  They just didn’t try too hard with this one, and it shows.  Black Mountain’s self titled debut is leaps and bounds better than this, get it instead.

-Andrew Iliadis

/mar 15th 2005/