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The King Blues – Punk and Poetry (7.5/10)

It has been said that a Tory government is good for no-one but the protest scene. Well, so says The King Blues frontman Itch Fox, and bringing his band into this theory is true to an extent. The King Blues have had a lot to protest about, whether it’s their personal circumstances within the band – one of their key members leaving – or the recent cuts, make no mistake they are “f*****g angry”. Despite the band’s internal struggles what you’re left with on this album is very raw. The album pairs the musical strengths of Itch and Jamie Jazz (guitarist) but what has stayed the same consistently throughout is Itch’s lyrics and delivery.

“Last Of The Dreamers’ kicks off proceedings and sets the tone of the album nicely; addressing the government’s victims and a call to arms if you will. It leads into “We Are F*****g Angry”, a protest anthem for the “students, workers and unemployed”. “Set The World On Fire” is a personal highlight as it harks back to their earlier work on ‘Save The World – Get The Girl’. Even “The Future’s Not What It Used To Be” brings back the reggae, ska flavour of their earlier work.

“Headbutt” and “I Want You” take a step away from the subject matter. It’s these couple of tracks, “Headbutt” that give a glimpse as to what the album could have sounded like had the band’s troubles not have occurred and had the sshambolic actions not been undertaken by the present government. However, as different as these tracks sound from the rest of album, they don’t stick out like sore thumbs and flow cohesively with the rest of the tracks. In fact they’re the most energetic songs on the record and stay with you long after the first listen.

As a pedantic criticism, “Dancehall” comes much to early for my liking. Usually interludes come at a halfway point but this song is number 4 in the trackl;ist which is more or less at the beginning of the album. However it slows down the pace of the album at that point very well after the fanfare of earlier tracks of “We Are F*****g Angry” and “Set The World On Fire”. Otherwise, it’s not simply good enough or punk worthy to clarify your punk stripes by constantly referencing how punk you are, whic The King Blues seem to do throughout. Emphatic swearing aside, which these days is common and not necessarily a bad thing, by naming the album ‘Punk and Poetry’ as well as affirming their anger on almost every track is again not punk enough and just comes across as cheesey, it hardly raises a few eyebrows. Otherwise there’s a fantstic musicianship present on this album, and Itch Fox is, at least at present, one of the very people not only in the industry but in the public eye ready to stand up and be counted. I can count few people on one hand who have the intelligence and eloquence to criticise and lambast the apathy and state of things to day. Can you count anybody one one hand after Scroobius Pip, Frank Turner, Nicky Wire from the Manics, Itch Fox, and Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari? Ok maybe Billie-Joe Armstrong and Rise Against but at least anybody after that? No! Well there you go. There’s few other musicians after that who maybe rell off soundbites to just promote their album or tour, but those are hardly people who I can take seriously and make it believable from their world-worn experiences and standpoint.

There are flaws on this album, it’s not perfect. But politically speaking it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in a while.