Chromatics – Kill for Love

written by: April 5, 2012
Album artwork for Chromatics - Kill For Love Release Date: March 26th, 2012


Portland outfit Chromatics has gone through a slew of member changes and style swaps, all lead by producer/multi-instrumentalist/mastermind, Johnny Jewel. With their forth full-length studio effort, Kill for Love, the quartet takes their dark electronic disco sound from In the City EP and adds a hazy coat of synthetic pop. Throughout valleys of ambient tones, Kill for Love is a hauntingly beautiful breed of abstract pop.

From start to finish, Kill for Love spans a variety of dark tones and hypnotic melodies. Beats hum in a distant and sparing pace at times, and during others they are plucked down a nightmarish path. The album begins with a synth version of Neil Young’s “Hey, Hey, My My (Into the Black)” titled simply “Into the Black.” Chromatics has covered Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” and Kate Bush’s “Running up that Hill” in a similar eerie fashion. It’s a trend that Chromatics has previewed on other albums, but has seemingly perfected it on this one. Ruth Radelet’s elegantly soothing vocals naturally blend into the ghastly guitar licks in “Candy,” yet youthfully complement tracks like “The Page.”

Similar to In the City’s title track, “Kill for Love” is the stand-out pop track. Slathered in ‘80s pop keyboard and Radelet’s airily sweet vocals, “Kill for Love” is bouncy and undeniably catchy. It’s unfortunate this is one of the few tracks with enough punch to ensue a dance party. Spanning over an hour, Kill for Love acts as a dramatic score. Songs like “Back from the Grave” and “The Page” are ridden in punk-tinged guitar riffs and electro rock grit, while “Running from the Sun” and “Birds of Paradise” are thematically tense. Chromatics find a balance between split personalities and enough variety. This album is constructed to be taken in as one. Each song on its own holds a lackluster aftertaste, but Kill for Love is woven with enough emotional variety to hold true in any circumstance.

Fourteen-minute long, “No Escape” is an ambient journey of melancholy tones and sparse, trickling beats. Rumbles of distant thunder transform this song into a somber cloud of minimalist sounds. It’s a hefty tune to chew through, and it honestly doesn’t seem worth it. The foggy reverb is a vast soundscape meant to follow the winding path that inevitably brings the listener to, but its spaciousness is only appreciated as a poignant resolution.


Chromatics – Kill for Love tracklist:

  1. “Into the Black”
  2. “Kill for Love”
  3. “Back from the Grave”
  4. “The Page”
  5. “Lady”
  6. “These Streets Will Never Look the Same”
  7. “Broken Mirrors”
  8. “Candy”
  9. “The Eleventh Hour”
  10. “Running from the Sun”
  11. “Dust to Dust”
  12. “Birds of Paradise”
  13. “A Matter of Time”
  14. “At Your Door”
  15. “There’s a Light Out On the Horizon”
  16. “The River”
  17. “No Escape”