King King - 'Exile & Grace'

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King King - 'Exile & Grace'

A joyous celebration of the art at its best - simple, uncluttered, pure and breathtakingly brilliant.

First perfected in the early seventies by bands like Free and Crawler, Bluesy Hard Rock is as timeless now as it was back then. Other trends have come and gone over the years but "that" sound has endured, its place in human history and evolution as assured as that of the imperial Classical composers before it.

Even though I cut my teeth on the NWOBHM sound of the late seventies/early eighties, I'm drawn towards anything akin to classic Whitesnake or Bad Company, which is why of late Scottish guitarist/vocalist Alan Nimmo and his band of rabble rousers King King have taken my senses by storm! Lauded wherever they go, it's hard to believe that this multi-award-winning band only released their debut 'Take My Hand' six years ago, but their ongoing evolution into one of the UK's hottest tickets has been nothing short of spectacular.

In the early days, their sound was more Blues than Rock oriented, but with 2015's superb 'Reaching For The Light' opus the poles had significantly reversed, their swaggering, guitar-driven sound as good as anything their peers above have achieved – and so it continues with fourth album 'Exile & Grace'!

For starters, there's been a noticeable hike in sound quality (not that what went before was bad you understand), Nimmo's signature guitar and the piquant keyboard flourishes of Bob Fridzema now illuminating a bolder, more vibrant canvas than ever before. However, as always with King King, as technically savvy as each member of the four-piece is in their own right, ultimately, it's the quality of the songs on offer that sets them well ahead of the rest of the field ... and what songs!

On first listen my initial reaction was "where's the new 'Rush Hour'?", but by the fourth I was singing along as if they'd been trusted old friends for decades – that for me is how King King nail it! From the Thunder-esque swagger of opener '(She Don't) Gimme No Lovin'', through the sublime 'Find Your Way Home' or swaggering 'Broken' to strutting closer 'I Don't Wanna Lie', King King once again stamp their brand indelibly on your mind.

Musically as tight as a drum and with no indication of the vocal issues Nimmo has been confronted with of late, 'Exile & Grace' is a joyous celebration of the art at its best – simple, uncluttered, pure and breathtakingly brilliant!

Dave Cockett

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