When Guernsey based pop band Kings released their first set of songs they did so as a series of singles they described as being Season 1, rather like a TV show. For their second release though that have been a bit more conventional as they’ve dropped four new tracks together as the American Rust EP.
Things kick off with a nice blast of summery pop as the title track continues in the vein of their past releases but with a further developed sound and feel.
Once again the quartet (singer Eli Crossan, guitarist Casey Joe Rubens, drummer Jamie Wickenden and bassist Mikey Ferbrache) manage to perfectly paint a picture of a kind of post-teenage slice of life and, while the music is fantastically upbeat, there’s no denying the angst that bubbles along underneath, particularly in the lyrics.
Second track Want Me slows things down somewhat but has a similar vibe with Crossan’s lyrics getting even more personal and intimate with a real ‘heart in his sleeve’ kind of tone while Casey Joe Rumens lush but understated guitar solos perfectly balance the mood.
A similar feeling continues with Blue Movies and, it was at this point in listening, a concept of the whole EP occurred to me as it sounds, in a lose sense, like a soundtrack for a summer evening with friends as the music captures the action and the lyrics being the thoughts in the head of a protagonist as he navigates this.
Hot Tub boosts the energy again and has a slightly more fun feel, hinting at the band’s vaguely pop punk roots, before throwing in a brilliantly 80s sounding sax solo and yet more digestible angst in the lyrics, though without getting in the way of the fun tones.
On stage Kings are a band who can often come across as all pop poise and little sincerity but, on American Rust, they have truly found both their sound and their heart with four tracks that are perfect power pop for a modern world.
Undeniably this is less dark in tone than their Season 1 material but it hasn’t lost any depth for it, instead finding a bit more positivity while confirming Eli Crossan as a great frontman, lyricist and vocalist.