King King – Standing In The Shadows
Releasedatum: 1 April 2013/ Label: Manhaton Records
By the time you reach the final track of Standing In The Shadows, you’ll be left in no doubt. They’ve nailed it. Aced it. Knocked it out of the park, just as you knew they would. If King King were a lesser band, with lesser balls, they might have folded under the weight of expectation that surrounds this second album. Instead, Alan Nimmo and the boys have taken everything the last two years have thrown at them – the rave reviews, the national awards, the sell-out shows – and responded with the best songs of their lives.
Plenty of bands fumble the ‘difficult second album’. King King have blown this one sky-high. On March 25th, 2013, Standing In The Shadows will swagger into the spotlight on the Manhaton label, offering up eight stunning new originals – plus two impeccable covers – to a growing fanbase that can’t get enough. Recorded at Superfly Studios in the Nottinghamshire countryside, and co-produced with blood and muscle by vocalist/guitarist Alan and drummer Wayne Proctor, this is a record that stays true to the Glaswegians’ blues-rock roots while keeping listeners on their toes with its gamut-running vibe.
With most songs co-written by Alan and bassist Lindsay Coulson, you’ll find whip-crackers like More Than I Can Take and One More Time Around, reflective moments like Coming Home (Rest Your Eyes) and airtight grooves like Can’t Keep From Trying. It’s bruised and poignant on What I Am Supposed To Do, and dizzyingly romantic on the closing Let Love In, while new fire is breathed into Free’s classic Heavy Load and Frankie Miller’s Jealousy. All across the tracklisting, the telepathic chemistry between Alan, Wayne, Lindsay and keys wizard Bennett Holland is firing on all cylinders, resulting in an album that bottles the thrills and thunder of a King King gig.
It’s been two years since King King broke cover as the hottest draw in British blues-rock. Of course, to any serious music fan, this was never exactly a ‘new’ band. As co-frontman of the legendary Nimmo Brothers, Alan was already a towering figure on the international scene, not to mention the busiest man in Glasgow (he recorded Standing In The Shadows between commitments with brother Stevie). The band, meanwhile, were amongst the most skilled and respected musicians on the circuit, and in May 2011, this dream-team duly delivered a classic debut album that hit press and public like a train.
The reaction to Take My Hand was unanimous. In a five-star review, Maverick Magazine called it “terrific… tremendous”. Blues Matters noted that “when it comes to the high-rolling wave of British blues, they are riding way above the surf”. Classic Rock crowned the release Blues Album of the Month and deemed it “an album to brighten days”. Even the veteran BBC presenter and Blues Band icon Paul Jones was moved to comment: “Here at Radio 2, we think Alan Nimmo and King King are going to go all the way…”
As usual, he was right. From the moment their firecracker live debut stole the show at the Monaghan Blues Festival, King King have built their reputation the old-fashioned way, touring like maniacs and blowing a new roof off every night. This was blues-rock par excellence, delivered by a band playing out its skin – and a frontman with a tendency to hit the stage in a kilt – and they quickly established themselves as the best night out in whichever town they were in, whether that was Maryport, Maida Vale or Glastonbury.
By 2012, the buzz was too loud to ignore, and at the Newark Blues Festival last September, King King’s meteoric ascent was recognised by the British Blues Awards, with the band beating off stiff competition from the likes of Ian Siegal and 24 Pesos to pick up gongs in arguably the two most coveted categories – ‘Best British Blues Band’ and ‘Best British Blues Album’.
You wouldn’t bet against King King adding to their trophy haul this year, either. With Standing In The Shadows hitting the UK shelves on March 25, and Spring tour dates booked for the UK and Europe, this is one band with no intention of resting on its laurels. Get ready for the return of the Kings…