Hailing from Newfoundland, rock band Cabbages & Kings have arrived on the scene and have delivered their debut, self-titled album Cabbages & Kings, which is comprised of 11 songs running for roughly 36 minutes of pure jam session goodness.
The album itself is pretty simple, following a safe format for each song and embodying the core alternative rock qualities. Those who are fans of breakdowns will be happy to see there are a good amount of them placed nicely throughout the album – they aren’t focus grabbers, but they provide a nice shift in tempo and mood, which adds depth to each song. For a debut, it’s often important to stick to the fundamentals and they’ve done that rather nicely.
The vocals were unexpected but kind of cool, and really are what give the album it’s alternative tint; they range from gentle to harsh, high to a slight sweet screech, and back again, which maintaining a smooth element. I was reminded a bit of a higher pitched punk style of vocals. I had a great time listening to the lyrics, too; they didn’t always make immediate sense to me, but I came to understand that’s how it should be, and it lent some mystery and surrealism to the album also. “Daisy” is a great example of this. I listened to it quite a few times looking for meaning in the words, and each time I just found myself appreciating the surrealism more than ever.
What really sticks out, though, are the riffs that compose the melodies. The riffs are simple enough in theory but really have an extra kick in execution. Small, subtle nuances are adjusted and adopted to make each one more than just a basic melody. The riffs themselves are easily hummed and quick to get stuck in your head, while providing for great air guitar material.
Because most of the songs followed the same formula, you could really listen to any one of them and enjoy it quite a bit. The one that stuck out most to me was “Paper Coffins;” it was dark and haunting, and featured my favorite riff of the album. I was also a big fan of “Shiva” for the piano melody that was just as beautiful as the guitar riffs featured earlier. If pressed for time, check either of those two songs out – they truly were a unique experience.
I think this is a great debut album for Cabbages & Kings, and should serve as a solid starting ground for their next effort. The riffs were beautiful but still sounded a bit familiar; I would love to hear the technicality behind the riffs applied with more creative liberties to set them apart from other bands that employ similar tricks. There’s some raw talent here just begging to be developed and brought to the forefront (the drums, in particular, shined in “Paper Coffins” but played a relatively small part elsewhere) and I think once those adjustments are made, they will really have something special. This band has a ton of potential and will soon crack their shells and be a real force to be reckoned with.
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