Kill Hannah

Album Title: The Curse of Kill Hannah
Release Date: May 24, 2004
Genre: Alternative
Billy Corgan endorses them. Thousands of Chicagoans swear by them. You probably haven't heard of them. You should have, and you will.

This is the genre-bending, lineup-changing beast known as Kill Hannah, a band that's been combining synth, goth, glam and modern rock for almost ten years now. Beloved to many eyeliner-smeared Americans yet virtually unknown on Canadian shores, Kill Hannah's finally hitting their stride due to their first commercial release, For Never & Ever, in late 2003. So what better time for a compilation album to span their earlier independent releases?

The Curse of Kill Hannah is a collection of a dozen tracks of their older work - only 1996 through 1998, though, so we don't really get to hear their trippy experimental-prog roots. Still, it's a lovely retrospective listen for those who are just getting into KH through their current mainstream hits. The album opens on the perfect note - the chillingly beautiful "Hummingbirds The Size Of Bullets" - and continues on through demos, remixes, rarities, and the general fuzzed-out weirdness of songs like "Dazzle These Nights Dead" and "Agent Orange Skies." Towards the end, when you hit upon such tracks as "Stunt Pilots" and "Chloroform (Slow Reaction)," it really becomes apparent how KH evolved into the synth-rockers they are today. However, the highlight of the album is the anthemic "Kill Hannah," the song from which the band derives its name. It combines pounding drums, melodic guitar riffs, and frontman Mat Devine's lamenting vocals about a crazy ex-girlfriend named Hannah. A band's true theme song if I ever heard one.

The best part of this album is that you can obviously hear the evolution of KH's sound throughout the years, with all of it pinned down by the one constant of Devine's undeniable singer-songwriter talent. Kill Hannah may currently be straddling the bar between indie and commercial, but damn if they don't do it with skill and style.

Writer: Caitlin Hotchkiss

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