Coming off a five-year break, other bands and taxing injuries, The Kills are back and quite possibly better than ever. Read our review of “Ash & Ice,” out now on Domino Records.
Between death and rebirth, there is a liminal state known to the Tibetans as “Bardo.” It’s the Buddhist limbo between this life and the next, wherein your soul undergoes great clarity before being confronted with terrifying karmic hallucinations. White Arrows’ second album, In Bardo, takes us on a dark, energetic trip through this realm, emphasis on “trip.”
Perhaps the greatest and most terrifying realization you’ll experience post-death could be summed-up by the third track’s title: “Nobody Cares.” The mocking verses of this slow-paced, syncopated burner are like little windows the disembodied spirit looks back upon life through, forcing us to relive all the tiny moments that make up how we really spend our precious time alive: “try a little harder/time is getting shorter/life is getting faster/nobody knows your name,” while the desperate elegance of the chorus answers all our life’s questions with “nobody cares/nobody fucking cares.” The song is practically all kick, snare, and bass tightly stitched together by the band’s phenomenal rhythm section of Henry Schiff (drums) and Steve Vernet (bass), with the upper frequencies sparsely lighted by the twinkling guitars and quavering keyboards of John Paul Caballero and Andrew Naeve.
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If these skilled musicians built the walls and windows of this transcendental corridor, the magnetic voice leading you to the next life is that of the band’s singer/psychonaut Mickey Schiff. At times he channels the ghostly falsetto of Miike Snow’s (somebody), at other moments, like album opener “I Want A Taste,” it’s Caleb Followill’s lazy croon from early Kings of Leon. The album is consistently catchy, varying between head-banging psych-rock and sultry groove often enough to escape repetition. Check these LA rockers out, and if you want a sneak peak at the terrifying hallucinations that await you after death then load up their video for “We Can’t Ever Die.” »
– Ethan Martin