Tuesday, 29 November 2011

King's Daughters & Sons - If Then Not When

King's Daughters & Sons - If Then Not When
Genre: Post Rock/Alternative
Rating: 10/10

Few record labels can boast a roster of such importance as scottish label Chemikal Undergrounds. With some previous alumni including post rock giants like Mogwai, Aereogramme and Arab Strap it would be hard to argue that they don't have the midas touch. New to their ever expanding roster are Kentucky based band King's Daughters & Sons who are releasing their debut If Then Not When on the 21st of this month. The band first caught my attention very recently when I recieved an email from Chemikal Underground about upcoming events, whilst most record label chainmail goes directly from inbox to my bin Chemikal Underground's newsletters are written with enough poise to make them feel quite personal and interesting. They announced signing King's Daughters & Sons and with interest at it's peak I decided to head over to myspace to have a listen prompted by their comparisons with Nick Cave and Led Zeppelin (which together makes them sound like some sort of freakshow). What I actually heard was quite unique and brilliant.

The easiest way to describe a new unknown band's sound is normally to make comparisons between their sound and more famous bands with King's Daughters & Sons though this is pretty damn hard. The musical style is varied and has hints of Nick Cave as well as post rock titans Gregor Samsa. The band's sound is made up of some pretty simplistic elements like guitars, pianos and drums the main thing you notice is the way each track is constructed. Each individual element comes in individually making the whole thing seem effortless and each track slowly leads on from a few stray chords into a sprawling epic. Lyrically the each track tells a story it is this and the classical elements of piano is where the similarity between King's Daughters & Sons and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds is drawn. Whilst this is quite a favorable comparison to make the vocals that come from different people throughout If Then Not When are much less over the top and dramatic yet still very evocative. The music is sparse and melodic, the guitars move from more serene melodies to more rabble rousing strumming in places but are hypnotic throughout. The grim narratives add a bleak yet enthralling depth to the record making it a true stunner from start to finish. Highlights come thick and fast without a single dull track, opener "Sleeping Colony" is a great example of the band's dynamic as what appears as a simple narrative slowly develops into a sprawling epic where each individual element grasps at your heart strings. Other highlights include the hugely powerful "Lorelei" and the shorter, punchier "Dead Letter Office" which has a fiery anguished stomp that is truly infectious. The whole damn thing is so catchy I've been humming it all week at work.

Overall King's Daughters & Sons have delivered a stellar debut. It's powerfully emotive and brilliantly concieved yet more evidence that below the torrents of pretentious post rock there is still much life and potential in the genre yet. Not just recommended a true contender for the best album of 2011.

Download: "Dead Letter Office" "Lorelei"

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