What is the purpose of a prelude? I come across them every so often and find that, far from introducing the listener to the band’s signature sound, they often throw a curve-ball, leading you right off-scent. And no ball could be more curvaceous than the one hurled by LITTLE RED KINGS at the start of their gargantuan 17-track new album, 'Callous'.
That said, by the time the first song, ‘Said to Me’ kicks in, the Norwich five-piece has turned on some whiskey-soaked charm and struck out with a big, bluesy, Black Crowes vibe. This is the moment they reveal their true intent and an explosive, ‘rootsy-tootsy’ rock rampage hits you like a hurricane. The vibe is more laid back for subsequent tracks ‘Josephine’ and ‘Blacken’, but the record is then given a swaggering classic rock injection by hooky head-turner, ‘No Friend Of Mine’, which includes a galloping drum solo.
With most of the songs on the album coming in at around the five-minute mark, some easily exceeding that (arena ballad ‘Chaperone’ is a meaty six and a half minutes long), LITTLE RED KINGS clearly didn’t want to leave anything out and were keen to squeeze every facet of their vision into this release. Lead singer and guitarist Jason Wick has a tender, emotive tone to his vocals and really hits his sweet spot during the slower tracks, but is equally capable of leading a blazing trail through the fiercer up-tempo numbers.
Since their last release, the band have gone through a change in lineup and have solidified their sound, which has resulted in this bountiful collection of down to earth, modern-yet-classic blues rock compositions. Standout tracks include the punchy ‘Said To Me’, (which embodies a similar sound to Maker), heartfelt ‘Chaperone’, sultry slow-burner ‘Josephine’ and the gritty ‘Propaganda Lie’, all of which impart their own distinctive flavour and make a firm imprint on the record.
LITTLE RED KINGS may not be about to rewrite the rock ‘n’ roll handbook, but their custom blend of soulful vocals, driving axe work, cleverly arranged keys and easy- going, rootsy melodies makes 'Callous' a compelling record and an exciting live proposition. The band will be touring in support of the new release from now into 2019, including an appearance at The Bearded Theory Festival next May. Callous is available on CD and digital download.
Said to Me
No Friend of Mine Chaperone
Meth Mouth Blues
Prize of a Life
A Lovers Tragedy
Rigor and Roll
Long Live the Quiet Man Patience (Losing Sleep) Propaganda Lie
Till and Toil
Fetch Me Water
Little Red Kings are:
Jason Wick – Guitar & Vocals Dougie Archer – Guitar & Vocals Ben Beach -Bass
Harry Wickham - Drums
Craig Stevenson – Keyboards