Tuesday, June 25, 2013
REVIEW: Kevin Harper - Kingdom of Wires
You probably haven't heard much about Kingdom of Wires by Kevin Harper, and that doesn't reflect well on the music press (including me, given that the album was released on March 18). Ranging from indie rock to crunchy power pop to southern rock to country-inflected guitar pop, this album could be one of the best "American" rock albums of the year, even though it is from Glasgow. I listened to it a few times when I got it, and liked it a lot. I listened to it this week and revised my initial opinion upward several levels. Quite simply, Mr. Harper is an excellent songwriter, and a very good performer. I was fan of his prior work as the frontman for Scottish band Little Eskimos, but the growth from that project to this one is extraordinary. You can test it for yourself with tracks one and two, below.
One of the many enjoyable attributes of the album is that Harper maintains a fast tempo for most of the tracks, allowing the listener the illusion of a live performance. And it is quite clear that he loves the sound of electric guitars, which puts him in our camp from the beginning. But the results are no less enjoyable when he dials back to mid-tempo, as with track six, "I Was A Sailor", "Oxygen" or "Majorette".
The guitars ring and soar, the vocals tell sincere tales, the rhythm section drives it all along. This, ladies and gentlemen, is American rock and roll...um...from Glasgow. It has my high recommendation.
The album is out now, and can be sourced at the Bandcamp link below.