It is hard to say that Lose What Makes You, the debut album from Scottish rockers Gifted Kings, ignited a fire in the passions for their accomplished and soulful sound, but certainly the 2012 formed band sparked an appetite and satisfaction with their enjoyable release which many emerging bands can only dream of. Consisting of eleven impressively crafted and expressive songs, the release makes a potent and promising introduction to a band we are sure to hear and enjoy a lot more of in the future.
Hailing from Glasgow and consisting of two sets of brothers, Derek (guitar/vocals) and Andy Murray (lead guitar) alongside Gary (drums) and Paul Smith (bass), Gifted Kings build on the undeniable potential and presence of first single Dead End Road, which has just received its video release also, in fine attention grabbing style with the album. It is not unfair to say that the band’s sound has a rich familiarity to its presence right now, not of any specific band but in general which defuses some of its ability to surprise and stoke those emotional flames, but there is little else to raise a quizzical and disapproving eyebrow over. Recorded with producer Nick Brine (Oasis, The Darkness, Bruce Springsteen) at the same studio which housed the making of Oasis’ What’s the Story Morning Glory and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and mastered by Pete Maher (U2, Depeche Mode), the album proves its case with a stirring presence and potency which easily awakes positive reactions and attention to match that already brewing as far afield as Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, and India over the band. With their music already gracing several shows on Channel 4, S4C, ITV1, and Sky Sport as well as being adopted for advertising campaigns by Ripcurl and O’Neill Sports targeting the USA, Australia, and Asia, the quartet are on a rapid visible ascent which What Makes You Lose has all the qualities to accelerate.
The album makes an instantly engaging and gripping start with Rains Will Come, its opening a sonic intrigue of guitar which expands with a rhythmic jabbing and fiery melodic glaze as company. It is not a startling entrance but one which secures full focus especially as the expressive vocals of Derek Murray joins the already pulsating lure of the song. Thoughts of Bristol band Mind Museum offer a suggestion whilst essences of Placebo also hint throughout the increasing emotive brewing of the track; all to a positive effect. The only strange thing about the song is that it never explodes, just simmers as if an intro to the album rather than a stand-alone proposition. Nevertheless it is a great start matched right away by The Last Time. A heavy throaty bass sound and imposing rhythms make the initial temptation as the guitar’s thoughts crowd around in a sonic breeze before making inviting weaves of melodic endeavour around the incoming vocals. Again there is something recognisable about the encounter, though it just makes it an easier ride to immerse within, which with its especially persuasive rhythmic enticement just infects.
Both No One Knows and Drive keep the album bubbling in thoughts and emotions if missing the heights of the previous pair. The first is embraced by powerful emotive melodies and crescendo like rises in energy and passion as melodic veining arguably inspired by the previously mentioned Mancunians works away, whilst the second strolls with a reserved and enticing alternative rock weight and texture to draw in the imagination. Neither sets sparks to tease the passions into major action but definitely each provides a healthy offering for the appetite to chew over and enjoy, as equally does Dead End Road with its alluring and richly expressive narrative and sound. Though definitely not the best song on the album it is still easy to see why it has drawn such eager responses the band’s way since being released as the first single from the album.
The following pair of Tell Me Something and Fortune In The City return the release to the commanding and contagious levels it started on, controlling rhythms and rich melodic fire rigorously and anthemically tempting the senses within the first whilst its successor explores another evocative climate with an inventively gripping groove and an infection clad chorus within an unpredictable exploratory landscape. Both tracks alone reveal the depth and potential of the band in sound and songwriting, reach easily lighting keen anticipation for future endeavours.
From the pleasing and very decent creative exploits of Last Trace Of The Sun and the sonically colourful, not forgetting contagious Wait, the album’s best moment is brought with Neon, a song built on addictive nagging riffs and crisp rhythms which persist until full submission is given for their vivacious bait. Once more the band casts a virulent infection over the ears and imagination which is impossible not to find a lingering hunger for, it’s dramatic touches and blues kissed strikes quite irresistible. Alongside the closing and strong if underwhelming in comparison Written On The Wall, the pair bring Lose What Makes You to a thoroughly entertaining conclusion.
Gifted Kings has laid the strongest base with their debut, the first of many potent and impressing encounters ahead you suspect.
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