If you have ever wondered why it seems as though we sit on new music for a week or so before telling you what we think of it, it's because of records like this. If I had put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, this time last week I would have firmly lodged myself up the ass of The Kills and filled this review with the kind of stupid gushing praise that we normally reserve for bands from New Zealand.
My initial impressions of Midnight Boom, the follow-up to the major label distributed 'anti-commercialism' album, No Wow, was that not only was it miles better than their previous effort but they had also managed to successfully combine the rough edges that the duo pride themselves on with some refreshing, joyous, pop sensibility. While they had appeared to have purposely alienated themselves from their audience with their earlier extra-lo-fi sounds, this time around everything is a little bit cleaner and the tighter production and more energetic approach works wonders for the flow of the record.
But they were my thoughts last week and after only a dozen or so listens I have already begun to grow tired of the one dimensional nature of this record and lack of ideas that the duo put forward.
All twelve of the songs fall into three distinct categories - sexy swagger (Sour Cherry), lo-fi garage punk rock (M.E.X.I.C.O.C.U) or gritty pop music (Tape Song). Surprisingly, it's the latter that seems to work best for them especially when Alision 'VV' Mosshart takes up the role of lead vocalist. The two standout tracks, Black Balloon and the previously mentioned Tape Song, flourish with the contrast of the sweet female vocals and the crunchy guitars / drum machine bringing the songs to life.
While The Kills still primarily build this record around their strength of dueling male vs female (and British vs Yankee) vocals, it's the continual reliance on a single vocal style that becomes the biggest factor in making Midnight Boom sound so stale and lifeless. This album is enjoyable enough, but the limited number of cards played by the band will more than likely mean that in a few months time you will have forgotten that it ever existed.