Review Summary: A broken kind of paradise…
Chromatics, like many on the Italians Do It Better label, operate in a brand of indie electronica borrowing heavily from the italo-disco and no-wave of the past to craft retrospective, moody alternative pop. This group, unsurprisingly for an IDIB label outfit, features Johnny Jewel on synth duties, and Kill for Love feels like his ship more than it does any other Chromite.
Less danceable and synthy than his work with label-mates Glass Candy, Kill for Love is a rigid, cinematic piece marked by sturdy, motoric melodies and a sense of late night sombre moodiness. That instantly rules the band out for anyone who enjoys dynamic, skittish music as Kill for Love is a long (1hrs 30 mins), unfolding, dramatic ride that requires maturity and patience to fully appreciate.
However, the samey, interconnected nature of the album can become a hindrance at times, and certain tracks, given their stoic stance, can fall flat and drag if a certain beat or hook just doesn’t connect right. Chromatics don’t like to deviate from the melodic path they set out on, so if you don’t like what you hear it’s going to be a bumpy ride for a while. But on the same token, when a beautiful, solidly realised moment does appear, the lengthy, deliberate nature of the band ensures it’s a pondered and superb flash of paradise – such as ‘Into the Black’, ‘Kill for Love’ and ‘The River’.
Its best served as an atmospheric piece, but it’s incorrect to label Kill for Love ambient. Male and female vocals appear from time to time, and are always uttered without soul – rather, breathy and phonetically pleasing than anything more significant. The music is not solely electronic either, with sparse guitars and bass filling out the more sprightly tracks, and working well might it be said. But for the most part this is all about atmosphere – a chilly, nocturnal electronic atmosphere that takes its time to deliver its set intentions.
All in all, Kill for Love doesn’t change Chromatics path but rather continue forging down the same road, orienteered by Johnny Jewel. Slow, deliberate and slightly challenging, the album is a very sturdy, journeymen type of release that will please fans of the genre enough to warrant one and a half hours of their time, but doubtless make the detractors fall asleep while Chromatics’ niche night music plods pleasantly on.