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Kingskin - Rhyme for Smalltime

  by Kelly Smith

published: 5 / 10 / 2008

Kingskin - Rhyme for Smalltime
Label: Zebra 3
Format: CD


Stunning bluesy, funky, Southern-sounding rock on debut album from Kingskin, whose achievement is made all the greater by the fact that they come from Dover in England

If the press release had said that lead singer Chris Lamb came from rural Kentucky, I would have accepted this as verbatim. The fact that Kingskin are native to Dover makes their bluesy, funky, Southern-sounding rock an even greater achievement. The influence of American bands is obvious, since few British acts are able to pull off this style of music, but Kingskin don’t suffer for being from this side of the Atlantic. Opening track ‘Bottom Dollar’ is brilliant at setting the pace. Previously released on EP ‘Humpin’ Mojo’, it’s a mix of a tight bass line and modest percussion, courtesy of Trevor Lynes and Russell Watts, which combine to produce the kind of sound you’d want to hear if you were sat in a bar with guys in cowboy hats, telling the girl behind the bar to leave the bottle with you, because you’re pissed off with your woman. Or something. ‘She Got The Bomb’ is a master class in slow building, tense, growlingly sexy anthems. It culminates in an exciting clash of instruments, not least of all Jak Chantler’s guitar, Lamb’s vocal displaying an amazing passion which is lacking from far too much commercially available music lately. This song isn’t interested in competing with anyone else for your attention, but it doesn’t need to. To put it bluntly, it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard this year. Nothing on the album is particularly revolutionary in terms of musical styles, but Kingskin evoke memories of bygone days, when men were men and rock music was rock music. The aptly titled ‘Suck Me Sideways’ demonstrates this. It is the kind of song that makes you want to drive with the windows down. How can you not sing along to a song where the words “funky, funky woman” sound like they were invented for this band ? Googling Kingskin to try and find out a bit about them, I came across a review which described them as “like Rooster but with a bit less spark and a bit more gruffness”, which I think is probably one of the greatest disservices to a band ever written. I remember Rooster. I went to see them in Sheffield once. (We’ve all been young, all right?) Kingskin are the band Rooster wish they were, but couldn’t grow enough hair to become. The weakest tracks on 'Rhyme For Smalltime' are easily as good as some of the strongest produced by allegedly similar bands. It might not be on a Radio One playlist any time soon, but that’s Radio One’s loss. I know it, Kingskin know it, and anyone who’s ever wistfully listened to bluesy guitar rock from decades passed will pretty quickly realise it too.

Track Listing:-
1 Bottom Dollar
2 She Got The Bomb
3 Nothing Left To Burn
4 In The Way
5 Last Ride Home
6 Suck Me Sideways
7 Humpin' Mojo
8 Too Many Chiefs (Not Enough Indians)
9 Sticky Fingers
10 Peeping Tom

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Humpin Mojo (2007)
Entertaining, but unoriginal Red Hot Chilli Peppers influenced rock-funk on new EP from Kingskin

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