"Kill for Love", Chromatics first album since "Night Drive", finally gives their loosely associated, prematurely decayed post-punk musical aesthetic its magnum opus - and brilliantly transcends it. The moonlit vibe of previous highlights recurs, and various tracks still crackle and pop with the all-too-mortal degradation of vinyl, and the album boasts some of the most engrossing synth-pop songs so far this year.
"Kill for Love" signals its tour-de-force ambitions from the opening track, a synth-draped cover of Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)". It's a thoroughly rewarding pop deconstruction, setting one of singer Ruth Radelet's most affecting performances against an evocatively restrained backdrop. "Kill For Love"'s clearest improvement over "Night Drive" comes in its impressive clutch of left-field synth-pop standouts. The pill-dropping insomniac rush of the title track is the most likely to propel Chromatics onto festival billings, but the existential ache of "Back From The Grave" is no less gorgeously catchy.
When Jewel suggested in a recent Pitchfork interview that he was more influenced by Madonna than by crate-digging Eurodisco rarities, it was logical to wonder if he was being falsely modest. That is, until hearing "These Streets Will Never Look the Same", which stretches "Eye Of The Tiger"-like guitar tension into an eight-minute treatise on loneliness and includes the album's first male lead vocal, rendered cyborg-like by a vocal harmonizer. Or take the vampire-pallid lament "Running From the Sun", another male-led track, based on piano chords reminiscent of those found on Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time". Still, just as the pop songs on "Kill For Love" are more direct than on "Night Drive", even the record's most ephemeral moments are more deeply engaging than their equivalents on the last album, livened up by disembodied vocals and orchestral touches. By including so many mood-oriented parts, "Kill For Love" paradoxically rises above hazy synth-pop's occupational hazard of dissolving into a blur of mood and mood alone. It's not just a collection of hits; it's an album, one that gives the project's familiar nocturnal foreboding a new sense of grandeur.
STAFF COMMENTSDavid says: Unless you've been living in a cave this year, you'll know that Chromatics' main man Johnny Jewel composed the soundtrack to 2012's most stylish film - “Drive” - only to have it rejected and be reborn as Symmetry's "Theme For An Imaginary Film". "Kill For Love", much like Symmetry and Jewel's other bands Glass Candy and Desire, continues the search for the perfect soundtrack of the city at night. A city of empty, rain slicked streets and pulsing neon lights that lies somewhere between the worlds of Raymond Chandler and Edward Hopper, untold stories of loss and yearning hiding behind each locked door and shuttered window. Gloriously uplifting and heart breakingly melancholic in equal measure, "Kill For Love" is the sound of Giorgio Moroder and Madonna jamming in Tech Noir, while Johnny Marr shares a drink with a young New Order at the bar.
FORMAT INFORMATION2xColoured LP Info: Limited Re-press on 2 x Clear Vinyl & 12x12 Lyric Sheet Insert