The King Hats – First Light EP

Posted on March 3, 2012

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I have to confess that this EP made me look an idiot. Polished is not a word you could use to describe it, but being unpolished is perfectly suited to this post-punk outfits sound.

The EP was recorded in the band’s flat using Pro Tools, which seems appropriate to the feel of the music they produce, adding lo-fi appeal. Everything about it is punctuated; from the disjointed, emotional, syllable-firing from lead vocalist, Alan Power, on 6/8, to the heavy, repetitive, fuzz of the guitar on It Feels Like I’m Falling.

This jagged texture to the EP aches to be heard live and compels you to bob your head and stamp, which is exactly what I found myself doing on a busy Byres Road. Although mildly embarrassing I’m sure that those staring would have found themselves bobbing along with me if I was to swap my headphones for a late 80‘s Boom Box.

Anticipation haunts every track as you wait for the rutting drums to kick in and deliver the melody to a heavier pace. On I Smell a Rat this is achieved by a single chord before the whole track explodes into a battle of guitar, drums and bass, all draped in barely-singing vocals.

An interesting use of effects on the backing vocals and a false start, drawn back with the gorgeously nostalgic sound of a short cassette rewind, make Happy New Year the most exciting track for me, which is free to download from their Bandcamp page. That being said, if you like earlier Idlewild I’d urge you to buy the physical CD, which comes with two bonus tracks.

Heavy, melodic and lo-fi – it’s not easy to pull off, but The King Hats have.

Review by Jamie Orr

Buy First Light

The King Hats Website

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Posted in: Record Reviews