Blood Orange/In Music We Trust
Kingsley is a melting pot of dozen indie bands. With members who have been in no less than four bands, including this one, Kingsley should be better than they are. With their self-titled debut, this Seattle-based quartet sounds more like a cast-off of the mid-’90s grunge era than a newly-formed group trying to make it in the 21st century.
Kingsley starts off with the strange space-age Queens of the Stone Age-ish “New Rock City,” which sounds like a direct Screaming Trees rip-off with some electronic blips added for good measure. Led by the vocally-understated former Hammerbox/Orbiter/Sanford Arms guitarist Harris Thurmond, “One of the Good Ones” sounds like Ben Harper fronting Soundgarden. It’s intriguing, but quickly gets old.
Throughout listening to Kingsley, I picture all four members in unwashed plaid and jeans with the guitar players’ hair swinging in circles as numerous brain cells are senselessly killed. The constant upbeat tempo of former Orbiter guitarist Jeff Wood and former Sanford Arms drummer Robert Dent keeps the record from dragging, but they soon get Gin Blossoms syndrome: every song sounds almost exactly the same.
While their music is quite catchy, it’s like listening to Bush. While it’s fun to go back and listen to “Little Things” or “Swallowed” every now and again, it doesn’t take long before the album is put back on the shelf for another six months before it’s brought back out again. That’s the way Kingsley is. The album is fun to listen to about twice a year, and only if you like the rock sound of the ’90s. The lyrics are more coherent than Bush’s, but, hell, even Keith Richards is more coherent!
Only a decade removed from the Seattle grunge explosion, it’s too early to start recycling that trend. But Kingsley are trying their darndist to resurrect it, only to find that it’s much more fun to reminisce with the classics from the era than attempt to recreate them.