King King

Reaching For The Light

Manhaton Records

No I have to admit that I’ve come a bit late to the King King party. I mean, I was aware of the band as my dad is a huge John Mayall fan and saw them when they played at GLive in Guildford, Surrey as his special guests. I heard ‘Waking Up’ on Paul Jones’s BBC Radio 2 Blues show on Monday 4th May 2015 as I was due to see them on Wednesday that week at The Jazz Cafe in the heart of Camden, London for their third album release launch party. (The King King album launch show live review is on the website now with a photo gallery).

So to the the album ‘Reaching For The Light’; opener ‘Hurricane’ is their own composition and not Bob Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’ but boy does it hit you like one! Drummer Wayne Proctor takes no prisoners as Alan Nimmo sings ‘I’m in trouble I can’t break the glass. You’re coming on but it’s way too fast’. Although the musicianship in King King is unquestionable as they each have been working hard on the live circuit in different bands and formations, it is really the strong calibre of songwriting that has helped fuel their deserved success. The lyrics are clever without trying to be and for me you can’t beat the genius of the line ‘I can’t lose this feeling in my head. There’s more to me than a litre of regret’ on ‘Waking Up’. This track is really an anthem and for me is the highlight on this recording.

‘You Stopped The Rain’ is a real heartfelt story that I think a lot of people will understand. Nimmo’s guitar just weeps as the bass and drums keep the song’s intensity high.

‘Rush Hour’ has haunting electric guitar as Lindsay Coulson on the bass keeps it groovy throughout. The guitar solos are fresh and vibrant as opposed to some guitar solos which can be quite self-indulgent and stale. The chorus for ‘Rush Hour’ is incredibly catchy and is probably going to be a sure-fire radio hit. Proctor keeps the beat level with the snare drum. It is incredible that the first lyrics to this song were written when Nimmo was just fifteen years old and it is clear that he kept that high quality consistent through the years.

‘Crazy’ is a real hard sounding  track and from a technical view, the vocals have a dark undertone with the album being recorded at 192 kHz whereas their predecessor ‘Standing in the Shadows’ was produced at 48 kHz. Now I am not a sound engineer but apparently it creates more of an analogue sounded recording that has a deeper approach.

‘Lay With Me’ allows the listener to hear King King’s calmer performance style with a rich Hammond organ playing a pivotal role. It makes you want to move your arms from side to side in the air in one great big live blues music love in. (Just me? Ok then…)

‘Just A Little Lie’ is the band’s take on a Paul Carrack song so its important that the use of Hammond organ and keyboards be included. They do not disappoint on this with Bob Fridzema and  The wah-wah guitar is welcome as it stops the song being a note-for-note cover and gives it a life of its own.

‘Take A Look’ reminds me of female-led metal acts like Within Temptation, Epica, Delain and Nightwish (mainly the era with Tarja Turunen) as it is a song that is suited to either a male or female vocal. Although King King are a blues-rock band, it is great that they are willing to occasionally step out of the pigeonholed box that is songs about trains, troublesome women and hard drinking. Don’t get me wrong, those subject matters are key to the genre and have there place but there’s only so many 12-bar blues songs with the words ‘my baby left me’ or ‘my train’s a-comin’ a person can take before they despair.

Closer ‘Stranger To Love’ has really laid back introduction with Fridzema on keyboards setting the scene as lead vocalist Nimmo unleashes his Paul Rodgers-esque vocals at the forefront. Interestingly, this song builds up from soft beginnings to an intense chorus which displays King King’s approach when blending light and shade in a musical sense.

King King is a band that doesn’t claim to be anything other than four guys who have ‘gelled’ over their time together as a band and the vocal harmonies on this album prove that. They have a musical bond that is tight and fluid but still manages to sound quintessentially British. I strongly recommend that you get a copy of this album and if you like it then purchase a ticket/s to see King King perform live across the UK this year. Don’t miss them as they will be filling arena-sized venues before too long.

Glenn Sargeant

King King Album Cover

King King’s third studio album ‘Reaching For The Light’ is out now on Manhaton Records. In addition, they will be embarking on a 19-date UK tour in the autumn at the following venues:

Wednesday 21st October- Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton on Trent

Thursday 22nd October- The Apex, Bury St Edmunds

Friday 23rd October- Public Halls, Harpenden

Saturday 24th October- The Wharf, Tavistock

Sunday 25th October- The Copper Rooms, Coventry

Tuesday 27th October- The Old Fire Station, Carlisle

Thursday 29th October- Picturedrome, Holmfirth

Friday 30th October- The Grand, Clitheroe

Saturday 31st October-Rothes Hall, Glenrothes

Sunday 1st November- Fibbers, York

Tuesday 3rd November- Realtime Live, Chesterfield

Wednesday 4th November- Fruit, Hull

Friday 6th November-Cheese and Grain, Frome

Saturday 7th November-Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham by Sea

Wednesday 11th November- O2 Academy Islington, London

Thursday 12th November- Artrix, Bromsgrove

Friday 13th November- Waterside Arts Centre, Sale

Saturday 14th November- The Platform, Morecambe

Sunday 15th November- Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury

Tickets available from or 0844 478 0898.

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