Sunday, June 5, 2011

The King Blues: Punk and Poetry

     'Punk and Poetry' is a fierce and very relevant album that makes points on a lot of today's political and social issues. It's lacking ability to be relevant in ten years time though makes this record one that won't become a classic. This doesn't necessarily mean some parts aren't good though, don't get me wrong! The King Blues are a six member alternative, punk rock band whose sound infuses folk and reggae elements to create something very different within today's mainstream music scene. Having looked over their previous albums in preparation for this review, I feel as though this album lacks in both the catchy lyricism and raw passion seen on their earlier records, I'm afraid. The lyrics are well written, but simply not as good. For those who are used to The King Blues, I expect this will be a bit of a let down, and personally, I would stick to their earlier albums.
     This twelve record is relatively short, weighing in at only half an hour long. It starts with 'Last Of The Dreamers', a song about people who dream about a better world, but are forced to suppress them. The track leads into the next well enough, to a song that retains the most anger on the album. Electric guitars and synthesisers grind, supporting gruff, aggressive lyrics and vocals from Johnny Fox. He sings with a passion on this track that feels very reggae in parts, before screaming out the chorus. The political message and power in this song emulates their previous efforts and makes this one of my favourites.
     'Dancehall' starts with some pretty old fashioned sounds which I liked, but the vocals brought to my attention a factor I didn't. Fox doesn't sing, but then he doesn't rap on this song either. It's more, talking to a backing track. The next track, 'The Future's Not What It Used To Be' is better, with a good beat and not too aggressive, but passionate lyrics that are actually sang! I'm not going to spend long on 'Five Bottles Of Shampoo' either, a song many people seem to enjoy. I don't. The lyrics are well written, but these two minutes for me, are ruined by the rubbish backing track and again, the not sang, but then not rapped vocals. After being told this track was one of the best, I am unfortunately, dissapointed.
     I do get what the band are trying to do, but I simply don't feel it. This album is a mixture of genres, from the hard rock on 'We Are Fucking Angry' to the power pop feel of 'Dancehall', and those clashing emotions don't work well to create a watertight, solid effort from start to finish. Tracks like the last, and 'I Want You' feel far too mainstream compared to the rest of the album, and on some songs the backing tracks feel lazy and unsuited. 'Five Bottles Of Shampoo', I'm looking at you. There are glimpses of brilliance that go back to the fantastic lyricism and power on previous albums, but as I whole I don't think I'll be returning. The twelve songs on this half an hour record feel like a couple of teenagers who want to appear politically aware, and I think many people will listen to this to appear similar in maturity. A step in the right direction for punk, this album didn't do it for me. Shout out to Anton though, for requesting this album review. I'm sorry for the negativity!