Monday, July 04, 2011

KING POST KITSCH "The Party's Over"

Well he impressed with the single in May, and now Charlie Ward aka King Post Kitsch impresses again with his debut album. Out now on Song By Toad Records, “The Party’s Over” is ten tracks of top-drawer basement-pop. Now the contrasts on that four track single may not be as stark across a full-length player but there is still oodles of versatility – and quality. Only the title track from that single makes this album (an interview with Manic Pop Thrills reveals sixteen songs in total were recorded for the album and single) but ‘Don’t You Touch My Fucking Honeytone’ still wows. And setting its blazing rockabilly-garage power-pop in amongst other tracks does nothing to contain its relentless energy. Some songs follow its lead but with less twang and less bite. ‘The Werewolf Hop’ in title alone sounds like the kind of 50s rockabilly that inspired The Cramps and it does have some crunchy guitar riffs but also softer moments with a sense of tiredness and regret: tough but tender. The angular guitar, semi-sung vocals and jumpy beats of ‘Bricks and Bones’ make it sound like a Glaswegian take on a demo from Beck’s “Odelay”. ‘You Talk Too Much’ is bitter-sweet indie-rock with some bluesy riffs thrown in; and the swirling keyboards and swinging soul-pop of ‘Walking on Eggshells’ has a whisper of the Euro-cabaret of Bowie’s “Lodger”. My references may be spurious, King Post Kitsch’s versatility is not.

There are other quieter songs like ‘The New Gang’ and ‘Closing Time’ but the pick of these is ‘Fante’s Last Stand’ which follows, in utter contrast, ‘Don’t Touch...’ in the album’s running order. I find myself torn as to which of these, loud versus quiet almost binary opposites, is my pick of the album. Imagine a stripped-back Beta Band discovering the wonder of the music of the Mali delta and the African kora and you’re only half-way there to capture the mystery and beauty of ‘Fante’s Last Stand’.

The album loses some momentum in the final stages as the last couple of songs adopt a more reflective and melancholic bearing but this is a minor quibble (and easily addressed by shuffle). A recent call went out seeking a drummer for King Post Kitsch live shows - now there’s a prospect to look forward. There’s a meticulous home-studio aesthetic to these songs as befits a the work of professional sound engineer but the sense of playfulness, the burly riffs and the killer tunes all suggest a successful transition to the live stage is but a formality. Following the demise of The Beta Band, Steve Mason adopted the regal moniker King Biscuit Time for several years before rejecting it for his own name. Charlie Ward has travelled in the opposite direction, a lo-fi auteur assuming the title of garage-pop head of state with aplomb. The King is dead. Long live the King. And the party, dear subjects, is far from over.

King Post Kitsch - Walking on Eggshells by Song, by Toad

King Post Kitsch The Party's Over [BUY]

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