KING KING – Exile And Grace

Manhaton 2017

KING KING - Exile And Grace

KING KING –
Exile And Grace

Glaswegian royalty gets away from the edge in style and with much gusto.

Looks like, having preserved their concert experience for posterity, these lads decided to change the guts of the band’s previous albums – the flesh and blood that took "Standing In The Shadows" into the light – for a slightly sleeker, if no less delicious, display. As a result, there’s less pictorial contrast now, yet sometimes leveling can work wonders, too. That’s why, though “Nobody Knows Your Name” could sound ironic, given the band’s current prominence, the electric surge carrying it all reveals they’re still uncomfortable with resting on laurels.

And that’s why “Broken” whose almost orchestral build-up, born in the space between Alan Nimmo’s licks and Bob Fridzema’s Hammond, is stripped to the bone of Lindsay Coulson and Wayne Proctor’s rhythm section further down the line to let drama roll over and the chorus pull at the pop-minded nerve. But while Nimmo’s velvet vocals on “Find Your Way Home” sculpt a soulful ballad of radio-friendly sort, the quartet’s interplay swelling towards the refrain without losing their usual vigor, it’s still right in your face. The shimmering riffs of “She Don’t Gimme No Lovin'” kick off the album with the most infectious groove, yet once the veins begin to bulge the ensemble’s smile emerges to offer raw emotions which allow the soft funk behind “Heed The Warning” catch the listener’s skin and stoke the tension that’s always there.

It’s only logical, then, that “Tear It All Up” marries sugary delivery with instrumental sharpness, splashes of blues shining all around, and the scintillating “Betrayed Me” turns bitter regrets into catharsis, before the merry jitter of “Long Time Running” is taken somewhere else, along the piano-paved route, to celebrate romance. It’s not until the briskly serious, acoustically tinctured steps of “I Don’t Wanna Lie” are heard that the ensemble bring home the “We made something so beautiful” sentiment: if they got exiled from the royal comfort zone, it was graceful – and triumphal.

****

November 21, 2017

Category(s): Reviews
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