King King release their fifth studio album on Friday 6th November and fans of the band won’t be disappointed by the contents. Unsurprisingly the band haven’t taken a left field approach and tried to incorporate Hip Hop or similar into the sound (or bagpipes for that matter).
No, it’s solid, anthemic Rock from the kick off with the single ‘Never Give In’ opening side one (it is available on vinyl after all) sounding rather like Bad Company (which is not bad company to be compared to) with the classic arrangement of big slashing chords for the first three phrases of the verses and a descending run on the fourth. It even has a double time pick up at the end of the song; showing off time and tested moves! Rather like the opening track off their last excellent album, ‘Exile & Grace’, which was used as the opening number when I saw them last live back in 2018, this has all the credentials to be the new blockbuster set opener.
‘Fire in My Soul’ follows and keeps up the high tempo pace, another really strong song with a memorable chorus. The band are described as a “Rock Blues” band (is that meant to mean they’re more Rocky than Bluesy? So, not in the excessively broad church of Blues-Rock? Torturous distinctions, but, to be honest, sticking Blues next to their name, is apart from being a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act, merely a flag of convenience for these smooth operators.
There’s not a Blue note in sight; it’s FM Rock all the way, epitomised by the big ballad sounds of ‘By Your Side’ and ‘When My Winter Comes’ (which cheekily recycles the cliché phrase “Fire In My Soul” from the aforementioned song), which sounds like they could be covers of songs by one those permanently permed American bands that bestrode the charts in the 1980’s (and have appeared on every “Drive” style compilation ever since).
Actually, all the songs are written by the band, with the lyrics credited to the brothers Nimmo and arrangements by Alan Nimmo and the excellent keyboardist Jonny Dyke, whose playing stands out throughout (particularly on the funky backing to ‘I Will Not Fall’). ‘One World’ and ‘Dance Together’ are big numbers that fans will be playing frequently, the latter no doubt resulting in mass audience hands in the air clapping when the band gets back out playing to packed venues, circumstances permitting.
It’s a well-produced and very good follow up to ‘Exile & Grace’, but maybe could have pushed the sonic boundaries a little more. It will be interesting to see what comes next from this charismatic combo.