THE KINGS – The Longest Story Ever Told

Dizzy 2023

The Longest Story Ever Told

Here they go : Canadian veterans spin an arresting yarn… or ten.

One doesn’t need to know anything about a certain Ontarian ensemble, who haven’t issued a fresh record within the last two decades or be familiar with their cut “This Beat Goes On / Switchin’ To Glide” which used to be a hit once upon a time, to surmise that, with a name like this, the collective should be rather old. Indeed, 2023 found Bob Ezrin’s former charges celebrating the band’s 45th anniversary – and, what’s important, releasing their fifth album to show lesser mortals how do exude class through sheer effortlessness of performance. Despite its title, “The Longest Story Ever Told” is rather short and unpretentious, the platter’s multiple delights – according to its titular boogie, “nothing fake or manufactured” – compressed for the punchiest effect: after all, as another track suggests, the group got “nowhere to go but gone” now.

In order to get there and enjoy that song’s honeyed, yet heavy, rhythm-and-blues, though, the listeners are invited to savor the pop confectionary of “Always Off The Deep End” which sets the scene with infectious, if riff-prickled, effervescence, as David Diamond’s voice and bass rumble anchor Mister Zero’s scintillating six-string licks, while Peter Nunn and Sonny Keyes’ ivories pour cosmic frivolity into this heady mix. However, the brass-splashed, soulful and life-affirming “I Know So” feels even more intoxicating, as Todd Reynolds’ drums lay a simple groove for the vocalist to roar around, and the organ-drenched, vibrant “Circle Of Friends / Man That I Am” is guaranteed to keep the audience on their toes – as is the orchestral ballad “When Dreams Come True” and the twangy “A Rose For Your Stone” which has a Gallic flavor to its verses and Mariachi aroma to its choruses. So whereas the hard-rocking “Clean Shot” offers a spaghetti-western menace, “She Don’t Fool Around” takes the equally cinematic fairground swirl to the fore, cleansing one’s palate for “Triangle Blues” to bring the album to a toe-tapping finale.

It was worth waiting twenty years to hear the stories, after all.


February 9, 2024

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