Those of you in love with The Libertines will adore this record. If smart lyrics delivered with a cracked London accent pushes your buttons and gets you sweaty in unmentionable places then dear reader – look no further.
Kingsize pronounce “Natter” as “Naaaaaer” and they’ve got an album here that will definitely find them garnering plenty of acclaim. If it’s that Libertines stuff you’re after, then you need look no further than opening track Boy which introduces itself with amp hum and a cascading guitar battling with itself as it lurches into a frenetic exploration of southern Britpop.
You can trace Kingsize’s lineage back to The Kinks, through the raucousness of The Clash and the knowing smarts of Blur up to today’s clutch of bands that worship at the altar of that false idol Pete Doherty. At least they’ve got an edge to them that takes them just far enough away to have too much in common with Razorlight, but they do struggle to live up to their influences – which is not in the least bit surprising.
The majority of these songs do little to establish Kingsize as a band of great ambition. All too often you find yourself drifting off staring into nothingness as Kingsize do their thing while failing to light the touch paper. The songs fairly zip by with an unbridled energy that while impressive in its execution does little to draw you in. You imagine that they’d probably be a riot live, but here on record their apparent vibrancy doesn’t translate well at all.
When they slow things down a bit, you’ve got a far more interesting band. Beat Of A Friday Night has a beautifully nimble guitar part that dances around the bassline like an arachnid ballerina. There’s also the most rudimentary guitar solo plonked slap bang in the middle of the whole thing that only a band with balls of steel would consider. For that alone you have to salute Kingsize.
Amsterdam (which cheekily references Terry and Julie from The Kinks’ Waterloo Sunset) takes a similarly laid back approach initially, and finds vocalist Mike McCartney revelling in a role that requires a little more vocal dexterity. The band seems more comfortable here too – but then who wouldn’t in Amsterdam – which proves that when they’re not trying too hard, they’re at their best.
Coincidentally, of the best songs here are Demons and Don’t Go Expecting The Truth. Demons, is a bastardised blues jam that once again finds the band back at their oldest influences. The reliance on volume and regional accent disappear completely as the band explores a basic yet effective tune to its fullest – hell there’s even some pretty decent harmonised backing vocals here too.
Special mention must go to Don’t Go Expecting The Truth which finds McCartney at his most emotive over an acoustic track that finds it’s depth in some beautifully thought out violin. You have to wonder why Kingsize didn’t explore this side of their repertoire more fully. Place this alongside the songs that suggest the band is in thrall to Libertines and there’s really no contest.
The only conclusion to draw is that Kingsize aren’t making the most of their talents. But they’ll end up being loved anyway, and we’ll be left to wonder just what might have been.