Domino Recording - 2003 - 42 mins

Imitation has always been the most insidious form of flattery. For every Stone Roses there were Mock Turtles. For every Ice Cube, there was a Vanilla Ice. And so.

And now, for The White Stripes, there's The Kills. They are a two-piece (check). Comprising of one boy and one girl (check). Who purvey no-frills blues-tinged rock’n’roll. (check). The Kills even use the same recording studio as Jack ‘n’ Meg; Toerag - an Aladdin’s Cave of vintage analogue equipment in the East End of London.

Given that The White Stripes are fast approaching “Best Band Of Their Generation” status it would seem that The Kills are making life difficult for themselves. Then they decide to release their album on the same day as The Stripes. 'Keep On Your Mean Side' might show that they aren’t in the same ballpark as the delicious Detroit duo, but The Kills do make an engaging racket that occasionally detonates some rock’n’roll dynamite.

Imagination, innovation, originality are all filthy cusswords that have been summarily torn from The Kills’ dictionary, but their combination of crunching geetar and Patti Smith-style yodelling guarantees one thing - they rock hard.

VV’s vocals also recall the intensity of PJ Harvey, but while Harvey brings a delicate musical intelligence to the insane riff-fests, The Kills are content to just pound at those guitar strings until their fingers bleed. They get top marks for effort, but The Kills need to find an identity before their thin veneer of hipness cracks.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Superstition - Cat Claw - Pull A U - Kissy Kissy - Fried My Little Brains - Hand - Hitched - Black Rooster - Wait - Fuck The People - Monkey23 - Gypsy Death & You