King King- Reaching For The Light

Rating: 5/5
Distributor/label :Manhaton Records
Released: 5/5/15

. Reaching For The Light

Band line-up:
Alan Nimmo – Guitars, vocals
Lindsay Coulson – Bass
Wayne Proctor – Drums
Bob Fridzema – Keyboards
Tracklisting:

Hurricane
You Stopped The Rain
Waking up
Rush Hour
Crazy
Lay With Me
Just A Little lie
Take A Look
Stranger To Love

Review

As a band King King may be new boys, but they have taken the helm of the Blues world. In a short space of time they have turned a lot of heads, no least the big names in this genre. Their last album “Standing in the Shadows” stole the show at the 2014 Blues awards with five awards so the new album was always going to be a challenge to live up to what has come before.
After the last album and a critically acclaimed tour of which many dates were sold out it is no more shadows for these guys. The album title of ” Reaching for the Light” shows the progression King King want to make, but have they?

It is sometimes with trepidation I listen to a favourite bands new releases. Is that just me? The last album was an absolute scorcher and I have just seen them blow the roof off the Glasgow O2 ABC recently. How are they going to live up to it? I put off listening to this for 3 days and decided with a long train journey to London it was a perfect opportunity to block out the world and immerse myself in “Reaching for the Light”. With the opening drum blast and lazy, Hendrix riff of “Hurricane” all apprehension was gone. The worry and fear slapped in the face and kicked in the ass right out the door. What a cracking opening track and it gives you a real idea of the pleasure you are going get from this full length epic.

” You Stopped The Rain” is the second track and feeds of the blues background of pain from first hand experience. This track was written about Alan’s brothers fight with cancer. A beautifully touching song. It really lets you see the bond between the two brothers, which if you have witnessed the boys on stage together shines through. They are something to behold live. “Waking up” is another slow burner with some lovely piano work from Bob Fridzema. Classic blues with a twist. A super catchy chorus with attitude to burn.

And now for a slice of sheer genius;” Rush Hour” is one of those songs you don’t get too often. Sitting here on a busy train, flying through the Scottish countryside and away from the band’s homelands, I have just had a shiver go down my spine and the hairs on the back of my neck are quivering. This is it, this is everything King King have been building towards.
This is not just their best track to date, this is the best new Blues song I have heard for a long, long time. As I sit here with my eyes closed I can see past masters nodding in agreement…this song is just magnificent.

You just have to listen to it yourself (yes that is me telling you to go out and buy it as soon as you possibly can).

It is all the more remarkable to think Alan wrote this song at the age of 16. The song is about the pressure of daily life and we can all connect with this song and the fact that this was written by a young man in his house in a small town in Scotland; Dumbarton which shows the Blues were in his heart and his future written in those lyrics all those years ago. The irony is not lost on me that I am stuck on a 8 hour journey and this song has taken me away from it all. We may not all get to do what we really want in life so its little slices of paradise like this that make everything ok. Alan this is your gift to us all.

The fifth tack is “Crazy” and already I have had my moneys worth from this CD. From just one listen I know this is going to go down in the records as a classic. If this does not win more awards than “Standing in the Shadows” I am going to only review One Direction from now on. “Crazy” took me back to Early Whitesnake, back when they were a solid Blues band. It also shows that king King don’t stick to the Blues textbook. This is definitely much rockier. The band have many different influences but classic rock is a driver and this is a stormer. As Alan has said before Blues isn’t about 12 bars, it’s about attitude and this song/band have tons to spare.

“Lay With Me” oozes deep south. I can see this being done with a full choir in a church( video idea? No commission required guys). “Just a Little Lie” gets its funk on in a big way. Cracking opening. We have a real melting pot of Stevie Wonder, Chris Rea and Clapton. This album is fill to brimming with stand out tunes. Not one filler amongst them.

For me ” Take a Look” took on a life of it’s own. A few days before this train journey I had completed and published my review of the King King homecoming gig in Glasgow. One of my friends posted the review to his facebook account as I was listening to this track an old friend had responded to the review saying he had written one of the songs on the new King King album. I hurriedly responded asking which song only to be told it was “Take a Look”. Small world indeed. It turns out both my friend (Hi Tommy Regan) and Alan were in a band together and Alan had always loved the song so last year asked if he could use it. A brilliant choice Alan and a stunning song Tommy; how did you manage to hide all that talent working in a swimming pool?. It’s an amazing track with a Gary Moore style opening and some heartfelt, loving lyrics and I am so glad this has made it to the public. I am so happy that this is included in what will become a must have Blues album and I am extremely proud for Tommy and I would love to see Tommy on stage in Glasgow with the band doing this song…nudge, nudge Alan.

I can’t believe this is the last track already. Once “Stranger To Love” is done this whole album is going on repeat and I have been literally blown away with this album and this song is no different. Alan’s voice is deep, Smokey and everything you want from a blues vocalist; a stunning bass beat throughout with lovely guitars. This song took me back a long way, back to the early 80s in The Glasgow Apollo watching my very first Blues type gig. When I close my eyes on the guitar parts I am whisked away to watching Rory Gallagher live and I was and have always been a rocker but my love for the blues was born that day and it is very significant for me that a local band have embraced the genre and taken it on a new direction and to bigger heights.

You may have realised by now that I LOVE this album. If you like Blues, Classic Rock, Jazz or Soul you will too. If you are not sure just buy it I promise you will not be disappointed. Buy it and force it down everyone throats, shout it from the rooftops as I want everyone to know who King king are.

I listen to a lot of music in this line of work but this has been the best release of 2015 by a long way and I think I will still be saying that at the end of the year. This is a 9 track slice of Blues heaven. No more shadows for King King. The light is within your reach and I am going to enjoy watching you grasp it, twist it and stick it in your back pocket as you set the benchmark for everyone else to reach.

Review by Ritchie Birnie
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