The Kills

“Sour Cherry” by the Kills

The Kills found a muse for their latest album, Midnight Boom, in one of the strangest places. A 1967 documentary about urban playground songs, entitled Pizza Pizza Daddy-O [you can watch a video of this after the jump – Ed], served as a major influence in the enigmatic London duo’s sonic concoction of trippy electronica and artful indie punk. Relaxing in a Bristol cinema pre-show, one-half of the twosome, Jamie Hince, explains, “I found Pizza Pizza Daddy-O on a movie archive called I was fascinated by the lyrics and choreography of the film’s songs. That was quite a spark of inspiration for the record.” He continues, “I thought these playground songs had a lot in common with the Kills. There was a simple backbeat, like handclapping, and then these quiet, nursery rhyme melodies. The lyrics were like something out of an Edgar Allan Poe story. They were about alcoholism, abortion or social decay. That movie made me see a new way of stripping things back. That’s how we ended up interpreting our ideas, as if they were modern playground songs. ‘Sour Cherry’ and ‘Alphabet Pony’ are very representative of that.”

Pizza Pizza Daddy-O

Instead of urban street chants, the Kills utilize funky electronic beats and swirling digital rhythms for their 21st century playground anthems. In fact, cuts like “U.R.A. Fever” and “Getting Down” could serve as tight, sweaty club grinders or music to straight rock out to. Meanwhile, “Last Day of Magic” functions as an infectious little romp, contrasting a cyber beat and a twangy rhythm. Eschewing the more guitar-driven mentality of their previous two offerings, the Kills have found a middle ground between Queens of the Stone Age’s stoned, hazy acid rock and LCD Soundsytem’s dance pop.

Of all the places to record, Hince and Kills cohort Alison Mosshart chose Benton Harbor, Michigan. Hince had his reasons. “They have the actual Flickinger console that belonged to Sly Stone. It’s the only studio in the world that I’m super comfortable in, because we can start at midnight and work through the night. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so it’s quite secret. There aren’t many people migrating towards Benton Harbor; most of them are trying to get the fuck out. It felt like we were making a monster in secret. I’ll try any fucking trick in the book to make me feel like I’m superhuman.”

It’s some kind of monster for sure.

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