Kings Go Forth – The Outsiders Are Back 31/05/2010

June 11, 2010 by  

Sometimes we all get a bit nostalgic for when things were a little simpler. In this frenetic new century solace can be sought in a bit of home cooking, a country walk or a Sunday morning, with sun streaming through the windows and some Tamla Motown revolving on the record deck.

Kings Go Forth are the sort of guys who appreciate a good thing done properly. Their style and technique hark back to a day when soul music and R&B ruled the wireless, and things were done proper-like; studio time was recorded on large spools of tape, the digital age a mere fantasy of science fiction.

Hailing from Wisconsin, they are a ten strong act who favour a classic soul set up, complete with a brass section and a dual attack of drums and percussion. Black Wolf, his voice a dead ringer for Curtis Mayfield, supplies lead vocals with dreamy backing vocals in the Delfonics/Tempations vein. Despite having every one of their twenty feet planted firmly in the 21st century, the group successfully emulate the sounds of 60s-70s soul and rhythm & blues. The tracks pop and sparkle with the loving hand given to them by the traditional production values, though with a touch more subtlety; if you were feeling ungenerous you could snidely add that they perhaps lack the monster melodic hooks a soul band thrives upon.

By limiting their first few single releases to a mere 500 vinyl pressings they ensured interest reached fever pitch, coupled what with have been reported as smoking live shows, Kings Go Forth look set to be on the cusp of a popularity surge with their debut, ‘The Outsiders Are Back’.

Highlights of the record come thick and fast, the band are tight and the vocal harmonies on point. Opening up ‘One Day’ with its airy drum rattle could have been a bonus track to Mayfield’s Super Fly. From the waxy wah guitar on ‘Don’t Love You No More’ to the joyful build in the intro of ‘You’re The One’ and on to the immense horn breakdown on ‘Fight With Love’, there’s a combination of ear-easy melodies and expert musicianship making it the sort of record that the ears of new generations should be nourished on.

It’s hard to exalt the record as a modern classic as it’s extremely derivative; almost as if it’s a collection of lost and forgotten cuts from old soul artists. It’s a lovely album, perfect for a summer swoon-along, but do we need it? It’s a tussle of heart over head to decide whether music of this quality is undoubtedly valid or if a copycat pastiche of an era is just a jumped-up covers band. At the end of the day at face value it’s a great record made by great musicians. Keeper, I say.

[rating:4]


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