Saturday, January 5, 2013

... KING BONG "Space Shanties" (album review)

Trumping up with their third release, Milans King Bong are no novices on the field of instrumental Stoner Rock, a stylistic drawer you will open intuitively when hearing the band's name. Despite its humorous approach though, the trio sounds refresheningly serious, even eclectic with its refusal to cater to expectations.

On the other hand, they are no virtuosity-driven friends of Progressive Rock either, as you may come to think due to the album title which brings Khan's cult classic „Space Shanty“ to mind. Lasting (in the truest sense of the word; you have to endure this one) 15 minutes, the opening „Even 50 Feet Hamsters Have Feelings“ is a very slow display of mostly soft, but at times more forceful guitar playing. Andrea, the man responsible for this, repeatedly feints having found the one and only motif for his tune, but then thinks again and tries something else. Thus the rhythmic backbone is the only thing which keeps the track together up until its noisy ending.

Clocking in at exactly 10:00 minutes (just like „Kilooloogung“ a meandering assortment of ideas not quite fitting together), „Of Bong And Man“ immediately establishes a main riff you can cling to. Bass player Alberto keeps laying it down, supported by nuanced drumming courtesy of sticksman Teo, while Andrea delights us with a rather inspired solo. The psychedelic and apparently improvised (as much on this album) second part is also more or less pleasurable to listen to, as King Bong know how to swing and cough up some juicy licks. The shortest song „Inhale On Main Street“ is by far the best, rhythmically exciting and an attention-getter when it comes to stylistically diverse guitar playing, Andrea citing everything from Hendrix to angly Noise Rock.

With „A. B. Ong“, King Bong lay focus on different tempos, but it's again the guitarist who drives the ever shifting composition (if it is one) safely home. „Cthulhu“ evokes multiple associations as a title, but doesn't impress much because the group simply comes up with more of the same, meaning good craftsmanship in an impromptu setting. If you take pleasure in simplicity with maximum versatility, King Bong might be your band; for sure, they are a more compelling instrumental band than the majority within the field of Stoner or Doom Rock, but immediately graspable songwriting is something they leave for others.

words : Andreas Schiffmann

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