The King Blues - Save the World, Get the Girl (Cover Artwork)

The King Blues

Save the World, Get the Girl (2008)

Field / Island

The King Blues' second album is a followup to 2006's well-received debut, Under the Fog, one of the best underground releases of that specific year (so much so it was re-released on a bigger label in 2007). Under the Fog gave a slightly messy mix of ska, reggae and classic, straight-up, 'fuck you' punk, with an a cappella track chucked in halfway through, just for good measure. The hope for this album was that the band wuld really find their own sound with some consistency across the entire release. That's no easy task for a band with six members and a lead singer with a thick working class London accent who plays the ukulele. And that's not the only somewhat 'un-punk' instrumentals that crop up; one member of the band is entirely devoted to alternative percussion, so there's plenty of violin, an array of brass, something I thought was an accordion, but I am reliably told is actually a melodica, and even an electronic backing track crops up on the final track.

So the King Blues are a little bit unorthodox and it whilst it certainly made them stand out, it also was a hindrance to their sound. But no longer. This band have now found their sound and, most importantly, it's pretty fucking damn sweet. The songs on this album can be broken down into two pretty solid categories: girls/love and punk/politics. Just like 99% of everyone else, granted, but this band's sound means that Save the World, Get the Girl is one of the most interesting and listenable releases in a while.

The album opens with "My Boulder" and "I Got Love" and you're guaranteed to come out the other side in a better mood than you entered, with two very catchy and upbeat tunes. Later on, in much the same vein comes "Let's Hang the Landlord," a hugely uplifting song about life, friends and punk, set to a frantic pace and a gang-chanted chorus that pretty much sums this band up to a tee.

"The Schemers, The Scroungers..." is a song dedicated to the unemployed (most of this band have never had a job, and met living together in a squat), which can be summed up by the lyric, "I'm all for workers rights and that, as long as I don't have to work." However, even if you perhaps don't buy into the politics, you'll find yourself humming it anyway.

"Underneath this Lampost Light" is essentially a classic punk ballad that you've probably heard umpteen times before, but this version has a brilliant set of quintessentially English lyrics: "Kiss me underneath this lamppost light, I know it smells o'piss but, you look beautiful tonight." And all to a beautiful instrumentation of a violin and a ukele.

Finally, closing track "What If Punk Never Happened" is a track which everyone should hear. It almost comes across as a cheesy Eminem-esque track, but to be honest, it's a song where the words are the important bit. At over six minutes long, it is essentially a long poem, with no repetition or chorus, but a constant spew of fantastic lyrics about what the world would be like without punk -- a critique of politics, power, Thatcher and Reagan, hippies, and an appraisal of punk culture. I won't divulge any more, but if you consider yourself a punk rock boy or girl, you will relate to it and find it uplifting, if not inspirational.

I could carry on, but I won't, my drift I hope will have been gotten; this band is excellent, new and exciting, and I urge you to check them out. This band is now, rightly, taking off in the underground scene and this release makes it obvious why. This album gives you a lot back; it's beautiful ("Out of Luck"), uplifting ("I Got Love"), has plenty of 'fuck you' punk goodness ("These Streets Are Ours"), and plenty of eccentric, new sounds and instrumental mixes you probably wouldn't expect to get ("For You My Darling"). And the lyrics are excellent to boot, as lead singer Johnny Fox is loud, funny, caustic and enthralling throughout. It's not very often a British punk band comes along and really excites me these days, but the King Blues are definitely top of the pile at the moment.

So, what are you waiting for? You can stream a whole bunch of this bands stuff from their website, including "What If...".

So go listen.