Hailing from New Zealand The King and His Friends is a four-piece band that just released their debut self-titled EP The King and His Friends. The band consists of William King (vocals, bass, piano, violin, viola, cello and synths), Alex Johnston (guitars, vocals and synths), Angus Grainger (drums, percussion and vocals) and Christopher Moses (guitars, bass and vocals). They make enjoyable indie rock/pop that is carried by the unique and highly aesthetically pleasing lead vocals. The music is progressive and brims with visceral energy while the vocals are dynamic and have an empathetic quality that is hard to pinpoint. King’s voice can soar when it needs to and is more subdued at times but works on what the occasion calls for.
The music isn’t full of qualities that on paper make it sound like anything special but is effective because of the structure of the songs, subtleties and delivery. They work together very well and no one in the band seems to be in need of attention, instead they play for the benefit of the song.
They open up with a clear highlight entitled “So Difficult.” A guitar ascends upward as the bass and drums create the foundation. Once the guitar arrives at the apex it dissipates and you are left with an acoustic guitar and vocals. It doesn't take too long for the bass and guitar to find their way back into the mix. This is a fun, loose song that is a testament to the band’s ambition. Structurally, they deviate from the verse/chorus/verse model and are all the better for it.
“When David Fought Goliath” isn’t quite as potent as the first track but nonetheless it is a solid piece of work. The vocal melody is catchy and King’s delivers some of his best lines. He sings “a stone's throw, from hero to no-one / the fears and the voices around him / they're pounding, is anyone brave enough?”
The last track “A Smile On Your Face” opens with an organ and electric guitar that provide the canvas for King to sing upon. A steady kick drum enters providing energy and by the middle of song an increase in BMP is implemented along with distorted guitars. It is an impressive way to close the album.
This debut isn’t without its faults but they are far and in between. The songs are a solid introduction to the band from whom I hope to hear more shortly.
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