Album Reviews

King’s X – Ogre Tones

(Inside Out) UK release date: 26 September 2005

King's X - Ogre Tones We have shouted louder than most about the unfairly overlooked credentials of Texan rock trio King’s X. However, even we have to confess that you to have go back to 1998’s Tape Head for a King’s X studio album that was truly worth getting hot under the collar about.

Their new effort, Ogre Tones, goes a long way towards rectifying this situation. Most similar in feel to the relaxed, textured feel of Ear Candy (an album that vocalist/bassist Doug Pinnick once admitted is his favourite), it is a return to the simple, heavy-grunge-meets-Sergeant-Pepper-era-Beatles sound that King’s X made their own and is, more importantly, brimming with quality songwriting.

Around two-thirds of Ogre Tones is near faultless. Alone is an intent-filled, hard rocking opener with guitarist Ty Tabor’s ultra-melodic vocals complementing Pinnick’s soulful Hendrix wail wonderfully during the bridge and chorus.

Stay is slower but every bit as cool, with doomy chorus riffs counterpointing the dreamier feel of the verses. Hurricane is even more chilled but boasts yet another stand-out chorus, although I bet the band had no inkling that its refrain of “just like a hurricane!” would be so ill-timed given Louisiana’s and Texas’ current climatic difficulties.

Meanwhile, the heavy blues of Fly and Open My Eyes; the catchy If and Freedom; and the funkier-than-thou Bebop beg the question for the umpteenth time: how the heck is this band not massive?

Still, massive they should be, but perfect they aren’t quite. Mudd has a memorable melody but is let down slightly by its space cadet lyrics (“you said you were tired, then you went away up into the sky”); the seven-minute Sooner Or Later is pedestrian and could have done with finishing “sooner” rather than “later”; while the acoustic Honesty and the tabla-laden Get Away are perfectly “nice” but don’t really build into anything substantial.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying that 17 years after emerging with Out Of The Silent Planet, King’s X are still making music that could be played by hardly anyone else, with vocal harmonies that could be done by hardly anyone else, and with more passion, skill and ability than almost anyone else.

The 1980s were their time; the 1990s were their time; heck, their time is now, simply because their music is timeless. C’mon people, let’s make it happen.

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More on King's X
King’s X – Ogre Tones
King’s X: “We are the perpetual underdogs and we’re championed for it” – Interview
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