King Prawn - Got The Thirst (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

King Prawn

Got The Thirst (2003)


I'm under the impression that London's King Prawn had quite a following in Europe (apparently the band recently split) . While it's easy to see why, I can't say that Got The Thirst is going to add me to that legion.

King Prawn is most commonly stuck with the ska-punk tag but it is really too narrow a label for the band. The first two songs on this record "Bring Down the House" and "The Dominant View" run the gamut of influences from Rage Against The Machine to Sublime. Much of the band's vocals fall more on the side of aggressive rap rather than true reggae toasting. It's not too much of a stretch to say the group sounds like a more metallic Zebrahead worshiping at the alter of Bradley Nowell.

What puts me off about King Prawn is that their hip-hop and metal tendencies tend to conflict with their ska/reggae side. The hyper-kinetic instrumentation and aggressive vocals often kill the rhythm and groove that's a part of ska. One place that sound does work well is in the verses of "Smoke Some Shit," yet that song's childish chorus and subject matter are cringe-worthy. While tracks like "Bitter Taste" and "Gather Round" spin these influences together well, others like the political "Raise The Banner" loose me with their lack of a strong melody to tie things together. It's the same reason why the manic ska of the Voodoo Glow Skulls can seem overbearing at times.

I can understand why this band receives so many accolades for expanding their influences and growing beyond the rut that other late 90s ska-punk bands fell into. However King Prawn's scattershot of musical directions makes it so that they never seem truely comfortable in their own skin. Despite having so many influences from music that's traditionally rhythm oriented, King Prawn seems averse to relaxing their breakneck pace and developing the melodies these songs need to tie them together. If you're a fan of Zebrahead, the Voodoo Glow Skulls, or (to a lesser extent) more "out-there" ska-punk like late Blue Meanies or Leftover Crack you'll appreciate this album's eccentricities. However if you're looking for something with more of a reggae or 2-Tone bent, you won't find it here.