Aptly titled this is Kings X 15th cd. Apart from the mighty Rush, they have to be one of the best three piece bands on the planet. Tight as a gnats chuff, uniquely sounding, and thankfully still with us, it’s a pleasure to being able to review a new offering from the Texan trio.
They are that special, they are one of the few bands my untrained wife can actually identify, and that’s saying something in a world of similar sounding musical dirge. If you are looking for ‘Out of the Silent Planet’ or ‘Gretchen...’ then stop reading now, as those masterpieces will never be recreated. Instead the trio still maintain the trademark guitar sound, together with Doug Pinnick’s truly unmistakeable vocal sound paving the way for their groove rock trademark. They’ve mixed it up a bit, with some songs being unpredictable to past offerings, some short and sweet, some more adventurous. Also giving the album some pizzazz was going into the studio and recording large sections of the production in a live atmosphere, which is always where Kings X stand out amongst the others. Destined to be huge but for some reason they never quite made it, but I am glad they still continue to churn out their special niche in rock music
XV is a definite more mature offering than previous, and fits in nicely with the Kings X repertoire. For some reason the cd is split, like good ‘ol vinyl into Side 1 and Side 2. Side one starts off well enough with the religious and infectious, ‘Pray’. The new King’s X mellowness comes to the fore in ‘Blue’. Increasingly so it seems with each passing release, Ty Tabor takes on more vocal duties. It can’t be just me who feels he is yearning to be the fifth Beatle, such is his vocal style, none more so than on ‘Repeating Myself’. They really ‘buzz’ when the vocals revert back to Doug. My fave groove laden track is the catchy ‘Alright’ and typifies the classic trademarks, punchy bass, great licks, and the catchy chorus.
Side 2 kicks us off with ‘Broke’ and I get the feeling of religious/gospel vocals as if Doug is preaching to me. Once again DP’s vocals and pulsating bass, along with Ty’s unique guitar, and Jerry’s (very) precise drumming set the tone. Ty steps up to the mic again for the relaxed sounding ’I Just Want To Live’, before the band move up through the gears on the heavier ‘ Move’. The final two tracks are the full on 100% King’s X from old’ The last song , ‘Go Tell Somebody’ Doug sings "if you like what our hear, then go tell somebody", which is what I am doing now! Praise the Lord, like Elwood Blues, I have seen the light, and the light is ‘XV’.
The cd, like the album is in two parts, the King’s X groove laden, bluesy version we all love courtesy of Doug Pinnick , and now the mellower Beatle-esque version that Ty’s songs serve us up. If you’re already a fan then XV is another great addition to add to the thankfully growing King’s X discography. If you’re not, and they can be a difficult band to appreciate, give them a chance, because once they get under your skin you can’t shake them off.
Kings X are very special indeed.