Friday, 10 October 2008

The King Blues - My Boulder Single Review

A single review for The Music Magazine.

Edwin Collins once famously sang, "Too many protest singers; not enough protest songs". We all know what he means. From Bob Dylan to Bono, Bob Geldolf to Chris Martin, musicians have been politically aware and they love nothing more than to tell the world about it. London's The King Blues may not have been around for very long but they sure have fingers firmly on the social and political pulse. 'My Boulder' is the second single from the band's second album 'Save The World. Get The Girl'.

There are immediate and striking similarities to 'Tubthumping' by Chumbawamba - not so much musically but definitely in spirit. The basis of 'My Boulder' is a tearful conversation, predictably in a pub, between lead singer Itch and someone who has "lost everything that ever meant anything" . The sing-a-long chorus does not quite reach the rabble-rousing heights of its predecessor but it crashes in before the first ten seconds and makes an impact. Itch has a charming Joe Strummer gravely lilt to his voice as he recalls the reassuring chat with his alcohol-soaked comrade. The message is a simple one: instead of whining at the government and the establishment for handouts, we need to start helping each other.

'My Boulder' packs the same punch as 'Tubthumping' but approaches the concept from a different angle - less of a valiant last stand after being flattened and more a comforting hug. Two minutes in and there is a slightly comical reading of 'The Pied Piper Of Hamlyn' by Robert Browning which is lost under the music. Maybe that is the point - to ironically drown out the sorry tale of revenge in favour of the more positive message. After another blast of the chorus, more vocals tread all over the ending which would benefit from a quieter approach. These problems can be excused as the overall effect overshadows any indiscretions. 'My Boulder' is not quite the protest song Edwin Collins was looking for but a genuine message of hope and its subtly is its power.
-- CS (for The Music Magazine)

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