Review: King King – Exile & Grace
Manhaton Records (October 2017)
Reviewer: Peter Scallan
King King first came to my attention supporting Gun at one of their famous Glasgow Barrowlands Christmas gigs. I was well impressed and immediately sought out their recorded work, which was equally impressive! This is new opus is their fourth album and is no disappointment.
‘(She don’t) Gimme No Loving‘ opens the album and is a cross of Thunder and classic Marsden/Moody era Whitesnake. Motoring along mostly based on a great staccato guitar riff and organ counterpart, it also has a great chorus. ‘Heed The Warning‘ has a slow build-up intro and is then into a classic funky/blues rock rhythm. Next up is ‘Broken‘ which is a mid-paced blues rocker, based around a neat twelve bar guitar riff and driving rhythm section. It has a great variation for the killer chorus too. Opening with nice clean guitar sound and a Fender Rhodes-type sound, ‘Find Your Way Home‘ is a slow burning soulful blues ballad with a powerful chorus. ‘Tear It All Up‘ as it name suggests takes the feel up a few notches and revolves around another great guitar chop. With driving bass and drums this one really rocks along.
We slip into stomping bass mode for ‘Betrayed Me‘ which reminds me of prime time Bad Company. However, it’s more bluesy with Alan Nimmo’s blues guitar playing and a great understated vocal performance – a classic example of more is definitely less! ‘Long Time Running‘ opens up with drums and guitar is very reminiscent of a classic Whitesnake again and could easily sit on Come and Get It. It has another great guitar chop leading into a great twelve-bar bridge leading to the inevitable catchy chorus. Next up is ‘Nobody Knows Your Name’ which again draws on more blues rock influences with a Free/Kossoff style guitar riff opening the song. It also draws on more recent influences which structural elements of the song drawing on the likes of AC/DC – but let’s face it they probably draw on the same influences as Mr Nimmo! Closing song ‘I Don’t Wanna Lie‘ slips back into a more traditional blues feel. It bounces along on a great base line with almost reggae-ish feel at times. It has the feel of classic Eric Clapton about and that’s certainly no band thing.
On this album the band stretches out more into blues rock with a whole range of classic feels and sounds while retaining their own sound, mainly due to Nimmo’s vocals and guitar playing. The sound to my ears is crisp and tight – impeccable production in my opinion. The songs are also right on the money. My only criticism of the album is that it ends too quickly – but they do say you should always leave your audience wanting more and this certainly does. If you haven’t heard these guys, do yourself a favour and a pick up a copy or even better, go see them live! At the moment Alan Nimmo is recovering from throat issues which resulted in surgery and this lead to the cancellation of their tour supporting the album. All that remains for me to say is get well Alan but only come back when you are really ready. Like me, I am sure the growing legion of King King fans will be waiting with bated breath for your return!