Chromatics: Kill for Love Review (Three Takes)

It can be difficult to gain a balanced perspective on an album after reading a single summary of the music. Bias can tilt a review, as can personal taste, history and just about everything else that is unique to the person writing it. So in an effort to offer an expanded perspective in such a medium, here are Three reactions, Three impressions, Three Takes on Kill for Love by Chromatics.

Ali Elabbady (Background Noise Crew, Egypto Knuckles)


Read the Wikipedia page for Chromatics and their bio compares closely to the Libertines in one familiar facet: numerous lineup changes saw the Chromatics go from noisy punk-pop to dreamy shoegaze electro-pop. But the great thing in Chromatics is that regardless of those lineup changes, they have albums that speak volumes. Take, for example, their fourth effort, Kill For Love, a 17-track, 92-minute tour de force that basically carries a torch-bearing standard full of great progressions, such as pulsating kicks and building bass lines in “Back From The Grave,” and the slow but ethereal “Into The Black.” All the while the band remains close-knit, regardless of their line-up changes, and provide us with an album that provides great mid-tempo-energy-ridden songs like “The Page,” and the electro-jam-packed “The Streets Will Never Look The Same.”  If there’s one thing that still stands true for Kill for Love, it’s that Chromatics albums all have a different feel. Kill for Love is another notch in the belt of the band’s great discography.

Jon B
I have been struggling to think of much to say about the new Chromatics record.  On one hand, it sounds pleasant enough, if this kind of chill, electronic groove music is your thing. But for me, whenever I listen to it, I find that I can scarcely remember any song after I have heard it.  While listening my impression is, “yeah, this is nice,” though nothing sticks out about it enough for it to not be instantly forgettable. (I seem to have the same issue with most of the output on the Italians Do It Better label.)  They consistently put out stuff that gets respect, but it just doesn’t really interest me.  If my opinion sounds a little vague, I guess that’s kind of how I feel about the entire record. Vaguely dancy. Vaguely pop. Female vocals that are good but not so good as to really stick out. There are too many great albums out there to waste a lot of time banging your head against the ones you are lukewarm about, and for me anyways, I am ready to give this album up as a lost cause.



I am late to the Chromatics bandwagon, but I am now fully on board. The band’s fourth studio LP (and first since 2007)  is a dark soundtrack to an unwritten film noir epic (or Drive), and a resounding success at that.  From the chilly, detached, yet funky “Broken Mirrors” to the to anthemic, hazy dance title track, Kill for Love is an engrossing and commanding record. Songs like “Lady” find the group sharpening their dark pop-disco chops with stuttering synth tracks and darkly sensual vocals from lead singer Ruth Radelet.  Producer Johnny Jewel, who is also in the band Glass Candy and runs the band’s label Italians Do It Better, helps to give the band a huge sound that never ventures into creepy or cheesy territory, which is a real fear for this type of music. Kill for Love is a stunning achievement and should give the band the attention that they have worked for many years to achieve.

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