Ain’t no squares for the tartan-clad blues coming into the light with a glorious sound.
Don’t be fooled by the kilts and the regal moniker, as there’s neither superfluous merriment nor self-aggrandizing in this band’s music – it’s the way they are. Hailing from Glasgow, the quartet, led by singing guitarist Alan Nimmo, build a kind of alternative reality in which FREE continued riding on the Paul Rodgers and Andy Fraser axis and BAD COMPANY never existed. Perhaps, by covering the former’s “Heavy Load” with all the mellowness of the latter on their second album, the Scots ram the point too close to home and counterbalance it with a deep, inspired take on Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy,” but there’s no holding back on their originals such as fierce “One More Time Around” where the swing gets arrestingly hard.
The lesser mortals could have kept finely textured and dynamically impressive big ballad “A Long History Of Love” for a grand finale, but KING KING unfold it rather soon and sign off with an irresistible, handclasps-abetted invitation “Let Love In” instead to link it all back to the twangy, organ-oiled twin salvo that is “More Than I Can Take” and “Taken What’s Mine” and gradually heighten the bittersweet tension. “Coming Home (Rest Your Eyes)” might be too thin to take the strain, so the release comes with the easygoing swirl “Can’t Keep From Trying” and the soulful “What Am I Supposed To Do” the questing spirit of which is sprinkled with Bennett Holland’s ivory jive wherein Nimmo weaves a soaring solo. Hopefully, when the sinewy foursome get to deliver their third platter, this flight render their roots footloose and fancy free. Long may they reign.