Album Review: The Kills – Little Bastards (2020 LP)

The Kills

Anglo-American rock band The Kills have forged a career spanning twenty years, releasing five studio albums and four extended plays. Now they’ve re-mastered a 20-track collection of B-sides and rare tracks which were released between 2002 and 2009 and put it out titled, Little Bastards.

In such a project there is always a risk of going backwards. Particularly over material previously discarded or deemed not worthy, especially from a perception point of view, when their last studio album Ash & Ice came out four years ago.

English guitarist Jamie Hince admitted he wanted The Kills to remain a “forward-moving band” and thus “the idea of coming out with a retrospective was quite terrifying to me” but alongside American singer Alison Mosshart, they decided it was a worthwhile endeavour, sparked by early lockdown fervour.

And here we are with Little Bastards, which contains their distinct garage blues punk rock sound, highlighted by 2011 hit single “Future Starts Slow”.

More than anything, this is a treasure trove for loyal Kills fans, dating back to the decade of their rise to relative popularity, meaning a raw sound highlighted by demo and fourth track “Raise Me”, which includes Mosshart’s trademark snarl.

You see, The Kills have never quite emerged in a wider popular sense, but they’ve managed to carve out a dedicated following, perhaps even a cult following.

Album opener “Superpowerless” is a true rock ‘n’ roll undiscovered gem to set the tone, while “Night Train” highlights their raw energy, while “Half Of Us” skips along before reveling in a Gang Of Four-esque turn.

Twelfth-track “Magazine” would fit well in Antonio Banderas’ latest flick with its upbeat and playful tempo, while there’s slower turns like “Blue Moon” and “I Call It Art”.

Not every track is a classic, let alone a gem and the 20-track inevitably feels a bit untidy at times, but there’s plenty for the ardent Kills fans to indulge it. It’s raw and rough, but full of energy.

Little Bastards, the new B-sides compilation album from The Kills is out now.

Ben Somerford

Aussie freelance journalist, sports, music, entertainment, top 10 lists. Take beach pics too.