Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Kills – Weed Killer – Single and Video Review

The Kills have recently released a B-sides compilation, ‘Little Bastards’, showcasing some of their earlier discograpy. The album comprises of 20 remastered songs, from the bands 7” singles and CD’s, between 2002-2009. The collection of rarities features iconic songs, such as ‘Weed Killer’, which the band have recently debuted a music video for. ‘Little Bastards’ reveals that The Kills have learnt how to visit the abyss of songs regarding love, loss and muses, without falling in.

‘Weed Killer’ epitomises everything that there is to love about The Kills: dirty blues, static harmonies and deafening rhythms. At first, the song seems austere in its simplicity, with Mosshart’s sultry vocals against a minimal backdrop, although the song quickly builds up. The musical structures are elemental, and not always as effortless as they sound: the duo like bursts of distorted harmonics, odd meters and thudding drums. The blues number bodes well with Mosshart’s ability to prevent her vocals from being consumed, by the frequent bursts of Hince’s macho blues-riffs.


But the lyrics, dripping in scorn, are what amplify the brilliance of the song. ‘Weed Killer’ depicts feelings of anger and disappointment, faced by so many of us, towards people who we have placed upon a pedestal. 

The song features cynical and comical lyrics, depicting the inner thoughts of a person who has idealised their partner, only to be let down. Although the lyrics seem defeated, “now I’m done trying to please you”, the duo is quick to displace this feeling with a facetious chorus that burrows into your mind. The repetition of “all I need is a drop of weedkiller” vocalises the unspeakable thoughts that cross our minds, encapsulating the visceral nature of the duo – who aim to provide us with raw, audacious lyrics. In essence, ‘Weed Killer’ explores the infinite gradations between disappointment and empowerment, through vocal mantras.


Mosshart and Hince’s eclectic influences, such as PJ Harvey and Royal Trux, clearly dominate the sound of the duo’s song. Although PJ Harvey and Royal Trux embody opposite binaries of the blues, they have both succeeded in influencing the modern sounds of the blues – and despite the bands efforts to revert back to a simpler sound and style, the song bears a distinct resemblance to PJ Harvey’s ‘Down By The Water’.


The accompanying music video shares electrifying footage from a show in New York, in 2012. Directed by Sally Walker Hudecki, (aka Sally Cinnamon), the music video has been transformed her own footage from film into a re-liveable experience. The footage immerses its viewers in a consuming performance, consisting of walking riffs, gyrating moves and undeniable chemistry between the duo. The performance showcases the band’s whirlwind of chaotic energy, reminding us of how much we miss their presence onstage. 


– Aimee Dodd

Instagram: @aimsdodd_

Image: Instagram @thekills


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