The fourth album by the American synthpop band plays through as if it were a soundtrack to a motion picture, and following on from the success of the cult hit 2011 movie, ‘Drive’, and its respective soundtrack, it is easy to note the similarities. The aesthetic and nostalgic vibe of the Drive OST is repeated on Kill for Love, and this results in an album that you can’t help but feel would be more impactful were it to be set to the backdrop of a dark, isolation-themed indie movie. The sequencing is very well-thought out, allowing upbeat songs to have melancholy moments in-between, which allows the record to be very cohesive and the perfect accompaniment to when your mind goes astray during the night.
The haunting opener, “Into the Black”, announces their intention clearly, setting the sombre tone with astonishing ease. As the main guitar riff ebbs away to light strumming and delicate synths and hushed percussion, the lyrics, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”, is an indication of what is to come. Following that track is the album’s best track, “Kill for Love”, a track depicting an unfulfilled life, one where she found herself waiting for things to happen rather than making them so. Set to glimmering synths, “I killed for love”, is said with pride, acknowledging that although she may have failed elsewhere, she gave love her all.
Capping off the great start, “Back from the Grave” is another standout. Lead singer Ruth Radelet has an impressive ability to sound both intimate yet distant simultaneously, and when backed to dreamy production, this works a treat. From more obvious synth/disco moments like the second half of “These Streets Will Never Look the Same”, to the upbeat synth line in “At Your Door”, you can see that not all tracks on the album aim to depress, with these reprieves not only suitable, but necessary.
The phone call through the brilliant “There’s a Light Out on the Horizon” is perfectly placed within the album order, and allow the album to end with a sense of wonder and intrigue as the mysterious caller aches after the album figurehead, “It’s me. Just wondering if you got my text. Anyway, I’m gonna go to bed pretty soon. I hope you’re okay out there, wherever you are. Goodnight. I love you.” This is abruptly followed by our mysterious lead deleting the message mercilessly, before the closer leaves us with one clear theme of longing and leaves us with the resonating lyric, “I’m still here, waiting for you.”
Everything in Kill for Love seems to have purpose, and allow it to play through seamlessly without growing tiresome of sounds. Encapsulating you with a sense of isolated wonder, and overwhelming emotion, you will find your mind drifting more so than usual if heard whilst on a long night drive, or alone with your thoughts. One of the most memorable albums of 2012, this could well be a frequent listen in years to come due to its unique sounds and dreamy, lush textures and vocals. The parallels to ‘Drive’ are obvious, and if they could create as good a movie as this soundtrack lays out, then I look forward to the prospect.
Top Tracks – “Into the Black”, “Kill for Love”, “Back from the Grave”