Review: King’s X – Three Sides Of One
Inside Out Music (September 2nd, 2022)
Reviewer: Chris O’Connor
It has been fourteen long years since King’s X last released an album (2008’s ‘XV’), and it has not been because the band has been indifferent to their career, but because they have been plagued with a series of nigh on catastrophic events – the magnitude of which would have finished off a lesser outfit. Drummer Jerry Gaskill has suffered two major heart attacks, as well as losing his home to a colossal storm, and even as this album is finally ready, guitarist Ty Tabor has been hit with a mystery illness that has meant that all previously arranged tours outside of the USA have had to be scrapped entirely.
When you consider that the band are all of mature age – bass guitarist/vocalist dUg Pinnick is 71, Jerry is 64 and Ty is 60, and given the run of bad luck they have collectively encountered, it is to their eternal credit that they have persevered and not simply thrown the towel in. It’s also remarkable that this run of untoward luck hasn’t dampened the band’s creative streak, or darkened their world view – in fact, it seems to have inspired them.
King’s X are amongst those rarefied few bands who simply do not sound like anyone else, so there can be no lazy categorisation of their music. ‘Three Sides Of One’ is classic King’s X, as in, there is a graceful and simple elegance to what they do. The music is always totally organic, moving and grooving with languid ease, and it appeals to those of truly esoteric taste.
Thirteen albums into their career, and you might be forgiven for wondering if the trio were running short of ideas – but nothing could be further from the truth. There will be those of course, who still insist that they have done nothing of note since the first four albums – ignore them, such idle chatter is ill-informed nonsense, very simply, if you love King’s X – you will naturally love this.I ask you this – what is there not to love?
dUg Pinnick’s voice is still beautiful and compelling, and the combined vocals of the band are still spellbinding of course. I have always loved the sparceness of the band’s core sound, perhaps only Shellac have ever come close to successfully emulating it. I love the space between each instrument, and how such a ‘simple’ band can make such an endlessly beautiful sound. Ty’s playing is conversely uncomplicated yet so discerning in its fragility. I have always said that in my opinion, only Rush has ever been a more nuanced rhythm section, and I will always stand by that comment.
King’s X still manage to surprise too, both ‘Flood Pt 1’ and ‘Take The Time’ are gracefully orchestrated – adding a new dimension to the band’s sound, and both work stunningly, adding a shimmering sheen to proceedings. The band have not forgotten how to rock out either, ‘Give It Up’ and ‘Festival’ are red-blooded foot stompers, while ‘Let It Rain’, ‘Holidays’, ‘Nothing But The Truth’, and ‘She Called Me Home’ are the songs that perhaps ‘purists’ will choose as their favourite numbers – this is where the band positively brims with soul and heartfelt passion – for me, just as they always have, and I’m sure always will.
Whatever you have always loved or admired about this remarkable band, it is here for you. ‘Three Sides Of One’ is an absolute Tour De Force musically, and a Masterclass in song-writing too. The Missouri trio have kept us waiting a long time for this album, let’s just hope we will have the fourteenth one much sooner – as surely King’s X have so much more to offer us yet. Simply marvellous!