NPR logo The Kills: Light In Feeling, Dark In Tone

The Kills: Light In Feeling, Dark In Tone

Blood Pressures

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The Kills' "DNA" is fuzzy and catchy, but not all that sweet — just the way garage rock should be. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

The Kills' "DNA" is fuzzy and catchy, but not all that sweet — just the way garage rock should be.

Courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "DNA"

Artist: The Kills

CD: Blood Pressures

Genre: Rock

The term "garage rock" conjures images of loud, forceful music, often with heavy distortion, thudding kick drums and hollered vocals. Yet somehow The Kills' members achieve a similarly dark, tense effect in an understated way, utilizing only guitar, vocals and the oft-dreaded drum machine.

Much like the genetic double helix for which it's named, "DNA" is a delicate but powerful construction. With a stripped-down drum-machine line (mostly just sticks on the rim) and playful guitar, Alison Mosshart sings with great purpose of a lost love determined not to break her, or her lover. The vocals are often sung in unison with the already simple guitar part. The stacking of basic, minimalist components allows "DNA" to seem both light in feeling and dark in tone, and it's engineered to sound like you're listening to a well-loved record. It's all covered in a lo-fi shroud with a few pops in the middle — fuzzy and catchy, but not all that sweet, just the way garage rock should be.