Saturday, 14 May 2011

Review: The King Blues - Punk & Poetry

These songs are definitely a soundtrack of the times, the sort of sound you'd expect to come from a country in crisis being run by a clueless coalition government at odds with each other. This album would in most cases satisfy some of the disgruntled members of the British public who have took parts in the protests/riots of these last few years, or in fact anyone with a rebellious streak. Having undergone line up changes and moving record labels, this album is the first in two years. The King Blues first came to my attention when I was heavily into punk during the mid to late 2000's, and I witnessed the band live at the Beautiful Days festival in 
2009, where they seemed to lack the energy I expected of them.

A lack of energy certainly isn't present on the roaring 'We Are Fucking Angry', which spits out Subhumans-esque lyrics to thrashing guitars, a filthy bassline and a thumping dancehall rhythm. 'Set The World On Fire Again' is like a 21st century continuation of what The Clash did, and has an anthemic chorus that will stick in your head as soon as you hear it. The brief 'Dancehall' is pure British hip hop, sounding like The Streets would've if the guy was a good songwriter. 'The Futures Not What It Used To Be' is a satisfying slice of ska, with a King Prawn-esque horn and a Specials-like bassline that soon bursts into an explosive and unexpected bit of drum n bass ragga that recalls Skindred. Some of these tracks come across as poems that were moulded into songs, like the pro-female '5 Bottles Of Shampoo' where singer Itch rages against sexism and the anti-internet porn anthem 'Sex Education', the latter not quite as effective as the former.'I Want You' and 'Headbutt' both lean towards American pop-punk, and are the most lightweight songs on the album. But they do the more mainstream aspects of punk very well on 'Does Anybody Care About Us', which has a huge air-punching chorus and sounds a bit like Bad Religion or The Living End's later material.

This album does have its weak moments, like when it tries to be a bit too pop-punk. But when they're firing out blistering ragga punk anthems and discontented ska, they impress very much. 7/10

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