Kills | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On their new No Wow (Rough Trade/RCA), the Kills sound more like classic P.J. Harvey than Polly Jean herself does these days. Though the London duo can't match the complexity of Harvey's lyrics, they know how to work with what they've got. In a deep-down sex-choked moan, singer VV (aka Alison Mosshart) conjures a mixture of dread and languor, a David Lynch road-movie world where desire is never more than a coin flip away from repulsion. "You got one eye as white as a bride / The other eye as black as the devil / It's all right," she snarls in "Love Is a Deserter"; later she and partner Hotel (Jamie Hince) repeat the title "I Hate the Way You Love" like a mantra. This fascination with the unhealthy can get a bit tired, but it's the sound that carries the record anyway. For No Wow the Kills have stripped down the already spartan aesthetic of their debut, Keep on Your Mean Side: Hotel's sinister low-end guitar riffs throb and scrape over simple beats and VV avoids melodic ornament nearly altogether, instead distilling archetypal blues-rock melodies into drawled incantations. Scout Niblett and Be Your Own Pet open. Fri 4/1, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $12.

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