The Kills are a two piece rock combo group, featuring Mr Hotel
Kills (aka Jamie Hince
) and Ms VV
This represents Jamie Hince's third foray into professional music in half a decade. Sometime around 1997 his old band Scarfo were pushing three-piece noise mongery pop on a largely unsuspecting audience. With a heavily rhythm driven sound, later ripped off by Placebo to greater success, they pioneered a "chiming" guitar sound and unusual tunings that Jamie has developed further since.
They made two superb albums and a finished with a single that broke new ground and promised great things to come. Alas this never came to be, as the band split soon after.
Jamie's second outing with his guitar was Fiji. Although branded as a "band" Fiji was in fact simply Jamie on his own. Jamie provided drum loops, guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, vocals, writing, production, recording, management and distribution. Fiji were low-tech, lo-fi and beautiful. They represented a move away from rhythm driven music, into song based territory, with more experimental arrangements.
Live they bolstered there lineup with a drummer, bassist, keyboardist and occasional guitarist. Jamie's incendiary live performances may be said to have reached a peak with Fiji, and the emergence of his (now trademark) "lobotomised" haircut signaled the intention to be a style trailblazer.
In the middle of last year The Kills began to appear in the middle pages of the NME. Jamie was now known as Hotel and was partnered with a new face known only as VV. The new lineup seems to satisfy Jamie's need for control, with himself supplying Drum loops, songs, samples, guitar, vocals and much more. VV has now taken the job of lead vocalist. This is a two edged sword: VV has an undoubtedly great voice, sounding surprisingly like PJ Harvey, and can add myriad screams and howls to that repertoire. However Jamie had a distinctly sinister nasal near-whisper, which will be much missed.
The new album is awesome. Bringing together the modern zeitgeist such as the Strokes and the White stripes, and combining them with classic PJ Harvey type vocals, and Jamie's previous style. Huge slabs of guitar form the basis of all their songs, with an american drawl running through the songs providing counterpoint. Love they lack nothing from Jamie's previous bands except a touch of intensity.
Go see them, go buy the album. They represent one of the most exciting, genre defining bands around. They ARE style. There live shows are packed with industry insiders and celebrities, all coming to see what the fuss is about. However, don't expect them to succeed commercially, they represent the sound of the underground, they sound of a band's band. And don't get too attached, Jamie is a restless individual, a true artist.