I must say, I am quite smitten with King Of The Sad Boys and their latest album Soft Drugs. This is their debut album and I would say it is making a soft, but poignant splash. They have managed to turn self deprecation into an art form with beautiful indie/folk rock as the backdrop. The music is rural, rustic and has properly portioned out the right amount of sweet and sour elements complete with enchanting vocal harmonies. I can tell you right now, this is one of those albums that should be destined to cultivate a pretty diverse following. It has mass appeal in that it addresses symptoms of the human condition anyone can relate to. It also maintains a low key tone throughout that keeps everything copacetic and easygoing.
They walk a fine line where they want to engage that self deprecation but that do it very tactfully to avoid swallowing the listener in a void of bummer. Despite the sorrow, they are very good at letting all the sunshine in and making each song a expansive and positive experience. Here you are allowed to be miserable and afraid and do it with style! The album houses just five tracks and I was pretty fond of all of them. They only one I was a little hung up on was track three, "Hey Boy" which was a great homage to the misery tunes of decades past; the only thing was I felt it stuck too close to its influence and came off a little hokey. Meanwhile track four, "Dim Bar Light" I felt did a perfect job of weaving together old and new genre tricks. I loved it.
On a vocal level this album receives top marks; their voice work is just downright stunning. Their harmonic ability is a taught and very strong muscle that they flex over and over again with such subtle confidence. I tend to be a cold-hearted sort of critter but damn it the vocals on here do manage to warm my coal crusted heart. The sound alone doesn't do it. It's also the words which are masterful. Again this is all about reveling in what is complicated, frustrating and, at certain points, just plain miserable. The words stick; by my second listen I was already able to sing along so some of the songs. There is something very comforting about being able to belt out their words of ill gotten wisdom.
Soft Drugs was recorded in several studios around the Auckland area including Albatross Audio Productions and Gabriel Audio. The audio engineering on this album was solid and very professional which is another part of this album that receives top marks. The production really added to the gravitas of each song and also highlighted the subtle but key details that made these songs so beautiful and endearing. I am beyond comforted to know that they are already cooking up their next album.
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