Anthems. British bands love them. From Oasis to Coldplay, it is the huge choruses we remember. The moments during gigs when we cast our eyes to the sky, hug a total stranger and belt out the melody like it was written only for you. On their eponymous new record, it takes To Kill A King about a minute to get to the first of these moments on an album full of them.
Opener ‘Compare Scars’ channels the same triumphant spirit that has served Mumford and Sons and TKAK’s label mate Frank Turner very well in recent years. Frontman Ralph Pelleymounter urges listeners to “keep your head straight” over a propulsive, chest pounding beat. A great and exciting way to start and album, the glossy sheen of the production ensures the song sounds ready made for stadiums.
The shiny fingerprints of the last few years of indie guitar-pop are all over To Kill A King. The band wraps Foals’ colourful guitar lines around the exuberant, ragtag energy of Vampire Weekend on ‘Love is not Control’. The band handles their influences well. While much of this ground has been covered before, the passion shines through and makes the album endearing to the listener.
Away from the soaring choruses, the album’s instrumentation suggests there may be more going on than previously thought. The verses of the ‘Friends’ feature spooky percussion and unnerving, dreamlike guitar. As expected, another chorus comes in and, in this case, knocks the track off its quite special flow. Off kilter synths also fizz throughout, most notably on ‘Schoolyard Rumours’, hinting at an experimental side that To Kill A King could fruitfully explore further.
Pelleymounter’s Bombay Bicycle Club style melodies will undeniably prove popular among fans of anthemic indie. When the band takes to the stage of Shepherds Bush Empire in March as part of a wider tour, they will no doubt go down a storm. To Kill A King features clutch a of solid tunes, and the bands knowledge of song craft and structure is admirable. Stacks of potential are present on this. However, in places the influences become too overbearing. The majority of To Kill a King is very pleasing, but perhaps next time, the band could give us a touch more personality.
To Kill A King is released on 2nd March via Xtra Mile Recordings.