There’s a very fine line between weird and creative; there’s a very fine line between experimentation and being outlandish for the sake of it, and Daddy’s Hands are doing one hell of a high-wire act, tiptoeing that paper-thin line. Much of what appears on Welcome Kings! could be considered outlandish, and even unnecessary when looked at through a microscope, but in the grand scheme of the record, every moment has its place.
Full of bombast and discordance, the 12 songs on this album burst with confidence and a rhythm as unpredictable as much as a Lindsay Lohan coke binge isn't. The jangly chord progressions hit from all sides, and the punchy baritone of singer and mastermind Tolan McNeil takes on so many forms that it’s impossible to grow complacent with his sound. At times the vocal chameleon delivers a slinky blues vibe, others a more off-kilter, almost deranged sounding howl that could see him fronting any garage punk band he wanted, but no matter what the sound it’s engaging.
Almost mesmerizing. The sound of his voice has the power to transfix you to such a degree that the instrumentation he lays beneath it is almost an afterthought.
The sultry sounds of “Foot in Mouth” result from the combination of McNeil’s unmistakable drawl and the guitar tones that call to mind a western saloon; both aspects make time travel just a little bit slower, and make vocals and instrumentation alike jump right out of the speakers and into your subconscious. Rather than picking apart the individual aspects of the song, an overall feeling is created, a strong connected feeling that’s impossible to miss. “When Venus Comes” has the very same affect, but a completely different approach: a slow-churning rhythm that’s as sparsely populated by guitar and percussion as humanly possible. McNiel’s voice is again the centerpiece, albeit in a much more reserved manner. It’s almost chilling how the slowly-delivered lyrics tell a desperate story, and more chilling still how the backdrop to his words accentuate them.
When he turns up the tempo, it’s just as interesting. Probably the most ‘traditional’ song on the album, “French Made Simple” rides the start-and-stop rhythm to the garage punk sound mentioned earlier. The repetitive chorus of "I’m so sick I want to turn away" is liable to lodge itself in your head long after the drums have stopped pounding.
One of the more unique and refreshing albums I’ve heard in some time, Welcome Kings! brings a lot to the table. Jack -of-all-trades Tolan McNeil has a warm and engaging voice that takes his songs everywhere that the music itself cannot.