Having recently had the pleasure to chat with Ryan Rosoff, guitarist and vocalist of melodic progressive rockers Little King and hearing him talk about their latest release it was a no brainer to subsequently dive into its intriguing body. It was a venture which soon rewarded with an ear and imagination stirring that ensured future attention upon the band was a given.
In some ways the seeds to Little King which released the Occam’s Foil EP were sown in Rosoff’s previous band, Tweed Quickly where he met a future Little King bassist Shannon Brady and touring drummer Scott Marestein. Having written a host of his own songs, Rosoff formed Little King in 1996, the band going on to release four albums and two EPs of which Occam’s Foil was uncaged last year. It may be that we are late to the party but the latest release is one which should be given attention; its play on the “Occam’s Razor” theory and position as a foil to it as fascinating as the sounds which wraps it.
With its line-up consisting of bassist/vocalist Manny Tejeda and drummer Eddy Garcia alongside Rosoff, Little King needed little time to command attention as opener Hate Counter immediately prowled the senses. There is a menace to the opening riffs and rhythms, each bearing attitude even as fiery grooves singe the air and vocal harmonics entice from within. A song sparked by “the separation of migrant children and the border as a policy enacted by our current administration in the USA”, it carries an anger and antagonism which stalks rather than erupts on the listener but only accentuates the emotion and growing enterprise within the encounter.
The great start continues with The Skin That I’m In, a track which is kind of like a follow-up to an earlier Little King song in Happy Home; a bringing of the world up to date on a life changing time if you like which instantly has a smile in its heart as guitar and vocals entangle and flirt. The progressive nature of the band’s music is far more pronounced than in the first track, a flirtation and invitation to the fertile imagination and enterprise soon captivating ears in an adventure enhanced by the guest presences of cellist David Hamilton, violinist Christina Hernandez and the backing vocals of Monica Gutierrez (the wife of Legacy of Fools keyboardist Ruben Gutierrez).
One of many thickly alluring aspects of the EP is the real individuality of songs to each other, next up Forgotten Mile further evidence with its warm embrace and melodic intimation, one echoed in the vocal prowess of Rosoff and Tejeda. It also bears a pop punk hue at times, one which lines the building crescendos that erupt in their own infectious style, as well as a mix of psych and melodic rock which occasionally reminded us of British psychedelic popsters Mammal Hum and a flavour also tinting its excellent successor, The Foil. The track is superb, its gentle coaxing at the start again voice and guitar centred but soon joined by the summery swing of rhythms. It too features the bewitching strings and voice of the EP’s guests as it virulently sauntered through ears, the track the boldest and most thrilling of all especially with its XTC-esque charm.
The EP concludes with Nerve #8, a funk rock induced instrumental as bold in its muscular rock ‘n’ roll as it is in progressive shenanigans and fiery flaming; a track to reinforce the smile on lips and spirit already sparked by its predecessor.
It is a fine end to a release which we might have taken the long route to but have found rich pleasure in and a voice to suggest it should definitely be checked out.
Occam’s Foil is available through Amazon, on Spotify and other stores.
Check out our Little Kings Interview @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2020/06/17/little-king-interview/
Pete RingMaster 14/07/2020