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Rhythm & Views

Kill the Lights

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Nearly every song title on Kill the Lights' Buffalo of Love would make a great title for a short story: "Two Sinister Gentlemen," "Skinny White Girls," "You Took My Knife," "Lady Sniper," "Ceremony in the Basement." Enigmatic phrases like these usually suggest a deeper texture to an album, and Buffalo of Love is, like the image its title conjures, a wonderful beast.

Kill the Lights wear their Interpol admiration proudly, but a few seconds into "Skinny White Girls," Kill the Lights reveal their inner U2; by the opening chords of "Arctic, at Dawn," the Toronto band has settled comfortably into their own kind of darkness. One guitar plays fast high notes, the other slowly bends lower notes, and then the band releases their secret weapon: vocalist Stephanie Hanna. By the end of the song, both Hanna and vocalist Alexander Hackett's voices are echoing the polarities created by the guitars, and when they cry "I tried so hard to bring you love, to put out the fire--I couldn't take it no more," it kills more than lights.

From there on out, it only gets thicker: "Lady Sniper" handclaps around Susan Sontag's observation in On Photography that "the modern camera is trying to be a ray gun," and "You Took My Knife" makes clear that fine line between dancey New Order basslines and disco. Kill the Lights tell dark stories through guitar arpeggios, thick bass lines and the perfect blend of male/female vocals, creating a kind of animal that is hopefully a long way from becoming extinct.

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