Part rap, part rock, part pop-punk, THE KING BLUES have returned with a new album, The Gospel Truth. Since coming into the scene to strong praise with 2006’s Under the Fog, THE KING BLUES have given a fresh perspective to UK punk over the years. The strengths of their previous work has them lined up to create a cracking record, so how does it fare compared to the rest of their discography and their previous album, 2012’s Long Live the Struggle?
Starting and ending with spoken word tracks (The Truth, The Whole Truth and …and Nothing But The Truth) that are meaningful and talking about people’s struggles and troubles is something relatable to all. It’s nice to hear such strongly negative messages combated with positivity towards the end, and the instrumental in the background building up prepares you for what should be a great track to flow into. While Heart of a Lion is a catchy and uplifting track, it doesn’t flow all too well with The Truth, The Whole Truth. That said, the motivating track, which suggests we’re stronger than our issues make us seem to be, is a strong and beautiful start to the album.
Other highlights of the album include Not Another Love Song, which is a fast-paced and upbeat track with vocalist Itch’s trademark vocals kicking off a fast drum beat and bringing in their ska-ish punk vibes. This track and a couple others such as Ghost of Us are strong on the album, however the rest doesn’t seem to strike home or make much of an impact. Wish You Weren’t Here doesn’t sound particularly ‘new’, with its heavily ‘BLINK 182’-like riffs, and slightly immature lyrics. Nike Town focuses more on the band’s rap side, which is a strange addition in-between the no-nonsense (and great) punk track Getting Better, and the AEROSMITH-like track You’ve Taken My Spark. When you wash away the weaker lyrics and tracks, stand-out tracks with meaningful lyrics (Ghost of Us being a strong example) really shine through and help the record to redeem itself slightly.
…And Nothing but The Truth is a nice and heartfelt ending to the album, though it does not have quite the same impact as The Truth, The Whole Truth. Finishing on a spoken word track is questionable, but the points raised in the track are meaningful and poignant. The fact the band has taken fan recordings for these sections is a nice touch, as it shows the band have a relationship with their fans and adds to the sentimentality of the record. These little flashes of brilliance within the album, full of meaning and optimism, are what make the record such a shame.
On the whole, The Gospel Truth doesn’t feel particularly original or outstanding. Granted, there are sections where THE KING BLUES make it their own and pull it off well, for example in Getting Better and Not Another Love Song. However, the majority of the album feels reminiscent of generic pop-punk with striking similarities to BLINK 182. With a few hidden gems amongst otherwise slightly disappointing material, The Gospel Truth is a good record for fans of the band, however would not be recommended as an introduction to the band as they have brought out stronger material in the past. It’s a good album, however doesn’t seem to offer anything to the table to make it stand out.
The Gospel Truth is out now via Cooking Vinyl.
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