By Saaniya Ambreen







Band: Chromatics

Album: Kill For Love

Genre: Italo Disco (Indie Dance)

STANDOUT TRACKS: Into the Black, Lady, The Page

Quick Take: A conceptual delight, full of moody syntsh,  rooted in alternative dance music from the 80s. Perfect for solitary night drives.

TSL Rates: 4.5/5

Reemerging from a 5 year hiatus after Night Drive, Italo Disco prodigies Chromatics return with the 17 track, 90 minute opus Kill for Love. Basing heavily off their love for atmospherics and “Essence” rather than structure, it is no surprise then that this album, much like its predecessor, contains many instrumental interludes shipped discreetly between other more conventionally produced verse-chorus-verse structured tracks.


Primarily the project of superproducer Johnny Jewel, Chromatics’ first started off as a no wave post-punk outfit from Seattle back in 2000, but they quickly imploded right after the release of a few split EPs and transformed into the Portland based prodigious Italo Disco supergroup that they are now. Jewel, who heads his own label – Italians do it Better – was also the man behind the soundtrack of the neo noir Ryan Gosling starrer, Drive, which released last year to rave reviews.

The opener “Into the Black” is actually a cover of Neil Young’s classic” Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” and like all good covers, veers away completely from the original. Much like the rest of the album, this song is characterized by vocalist Ruth Radelet’s icy voice laced on loads of reverb, big beats and COPIOUS use of synth.
With track names such as “No Escape”, ” These Streets Will Never Be the Same Again” and “Candy” which sound more like movie titles, this album encapsulates beautifully their central theme of heartbreak, endless journeys and New York City sleekness. ” Lady” in particular, is a stunner, with a cyclical groove, hypnotic bass and Radelet icily crooning the chorus ” If only I could call you my lady/ Baby I could be your man” on a loop.

Kill for Love is an exceptionally well-crafted album, one for those times when you want to go on an endless drive and leave all of reality behind. Once you get past its length, it’s an easy experience to immerse yourself fully into. A perfect ten.


6 Responses to CHROMATICS: KILL FOR LOVE – A Music Review

  1. The slow sometimes painfully gradual buildup is not lost on the old(er) crowd. Weaned on ten minute instrumental interludes and intros from the skeletal remains of 60s space and psychedelic rock. I find it ironic that for a band that gave their last record an expansive-yet-nuanced analog remaster find themselves (literally) constrained by physical formats. It runs 14 minutes less (depending on what media you’re on) owing to space issues. No points for guessing which parts were deemed “flab”.

    Somehow “Into the Black” bears semblance to the acoustic version of Neil Young’s Out of the Blue. But maybe its just me.

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