Friday, June 17, 2011

REVIEW: King Post Kitsch -- The Party's Over

I became aware of some intriguing King Post Kitsch recordings in 2010. I liked them and listened to them, but didn't focus much on the artist. This spring, I became aware of the quite excellent free EP he released on Bandcamp (highly recommend, by the way), which we noted a few weeks back. I also became aware of increasing buzz surrounding his new album, so I resolved to investigate further.

Charlie Ward, AKA King Post Kitsch, is a young Glasgow lad who moved to London to study sound engineering. Over the last three or four years, in addition to his work on the sound boards, he has been writing and recording the songs which comprise The Party's Over in various locales in England and Scotland. The album, which is released on Matthew Young's Edinburgh-based Song By Toad Records, contains ten songs of impressive quality and variety. Ward writes his intentions large right out of the gate. The first song is "Portland Street Pt 2", which reminds many of us of the great Syd Barrett (it also may be the first rock song with a piccolo riff that you hear this year). The second song is the lo-fi garage stomper "Don't You Touch My Fucking Honeytone", the name of which was a working title that never was replaced.

King Post Kitsch - Don't You Touch My Fucking Honeytone by Song, by Toad

Delicate Cloud Cult-like dream pop infuses "Fante's Last Stand", which is the third track. It was written after Charlie read a story about John Fante writing his last book.

Fante's Last Stand from King Post Kitsch on Vimeo.

One inevitable tick ingrained in the chattering class of music bloggers is "name that influence". In some cases, we may actually be naming an influence. In others, we may just be telling the reader what the music reminds us of rather than identifying an actual influence. In either case, it serves a purpose when we are trying to describe to you music that you can't hear. With that background, I note that Charlie's apparent influences are of the best possible taste. In addition to the aforementioned Syd Barrett, other influences noted by reviewers (or Charlie himself) are Echo and the Bunnyman, The Kinks (in "Walking on Eggshells", which is provided below), Bon Iver (I don't hear that one, but I don't "get" Bon Iver), The Zombies, and perhaps even my beloved Sonics ("Honeytone"). And "You Talk Too Much" calls to mind the power pop of Big Star, while "The Werewolf Hop" reminds me of Warren Zevon for more than one reason. But on a broader scale an album of this variety, wit, bravado and production quality calls to my mind Robyn Hitchcock, 69 Love Songs-era The Magnetic Fields and, perhaps, a slice of The Beatles' White Album.

"Walking on Eggshells" is one of the album's highlights. Charlie commented that it started out as a folk song, but transformed when he ran an organ through a distortion pedal.

King Post Kitsch - Walking on Eggshells by Song, by Toad

The Party's Over is the opening statement of an artist of great promise, and it is an album that I am very glad to have and enjoy now, and reference later when listening to his subsequent work. I think for Charlie, the party's just beginning.

Album link at Song By Toad Records ("Walking on Eggshells" available free)

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