King King - Reaching For The Light
Ever since the soulful melody of Jealousy hit my ears I have held a soft spot for King King; those melodies, their artistic expression and the blues rock edge that they thrust forward in every song. All of it.
Raking in the awards at the 2014 British Blues Awards for Band and Album of the Year as well as Bass, Drummer and Male Vocal of the Year, the bar was pushed ever higher for the Glaswegian foursome; Alan Nimmo (Vocals/Guitar), Lindsay Coulson (Bass), Wayne Proctor (Drums) and Bob Frizdema (Keyboards) who have barely cooled their jets since releasing their second album Standing In The Shadows two years ago.
This year has already been a great year for fans of Blues/Blues- Rock yet it gets better and the new album from King King is living proof of this. It raises the bar for their rivals, encouraging them to hit a whole new level.
With rumoured great live performances on their recent tour, alas I was on other duties, expectations were high for this album….but did it meet the standard?
Hurricane is the opener; a storm bringer of aural pleasure that sets the scene for the whole album; a jazzy, blues filled toe tapping spectacular that inflames the senses and tickles the ears with the earthy gravel flecked soul meister Nimmo banging out the vocals with style. The constant drums punctuating the song perfectly accented with whining guitar.
Indeed from the off the album demonstrates a natural progression from their previous work, delving more into the classic rock style redolent of Free and Bad Company, from smouldering embers to roaring flames the influences make their way through.
Waking Up; with Nimmo imparting soulful, heart melting vocals overflowing with emotion superbly ensconced between a blues/jazz tinged backing track and the wonderful Hammond Organ supplied by Bob Fridzema, is excellent. And it is at this point that I know, this is an album I will want to listen to over and over again.
Crazy, with its’s funky rock flavours embraces a rocky hard edge chock full of drama, dripping with the honey smeared vocals of Alan; you can almost hear the smile as he sings; every note speared perfectly with the instrumentation. With the layered sound, Lindsay Coulson’s pulsing bass and effective stop-time chorus lodging itself into your subconscious it sets the soul, as well as the loins of every listener, on fire. Staking their petition as field leaders for guitar driven electric blues in 2015.
Lay With Me is another heart wrenching, mournful little ditty that buries itself in the iciest of hearts, raw and emotive it bears the soul as the tempo is slowed down becoming introverted and reflective. The control of the musical lyricism, superb; the yearning passion restrained at first crashes through like an ocean wave, leaving painful detritus in its path.
Elsewhere, covering Paul Carrack’s Just A Little Lie proves to be a wise move, thrusting heart and soul where it is much needed, Alan’s superb vocals, treacly and rich, giving the King King twist to an old favourite. A wah wah driven funk drenched offering it is made their own.
All too soon I hit the final number Stranger To Love, a slow burner that undulates beneath the surface; it displays the immense power of the entire band playing together providing the perfect platform for Alan Nimmo to layer on another vocal sound as his voice curls around the emotions pulling you into the song. As it breaks the surface and flashes its power ballad status it is a perfect demonstration of vocal range, stellar guitar work and the innate connection these guys have.
The dynamic musicianship bolstered by heartfelt, raw and emotional lyrics detailing a, no doubt, very personal journey is superb, my one complaint - I feel at times they are holding back. There are some sections of songs that are crying out for a bit of a hard rock edge they could supply with ease, yet they don’t. I am hoping they are saving this for the live shows to ramp up the atmosphere.
This third studio album is set to seal King Kings’ status as bold, creative and immensely talented; trying to steal their crown is going to be a feat of gargantuan proportion.
Words: Kat Hilton