King's X - Faith Hope Love

Monday 1st April 1991
King's X - Faith Hope Love
King's X - Faith Hope Love

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Atlantic 7567821451
FORMAT: 12 inch vinyl Album

Reviewed by James Attlee

These guys are true originals. Try and stuff them in a convenient pigeonhole and they'll break out with some mind-boggling genre-busting change of tack. If you've never heard Kings X I suppose "a hard-rock three-piece based in Houston" would give you some sort of handle, but might lead to dangerous misconceptions. Imagine a group that one second could pass for your favourite metal band in full flight and the next have switched to intricate Beatlesque harmonies, sounding like an out-take from sergeant Pepper. Rhythms shift from speed-metal to jazz funk to marching band. Vocals mutate for Robert Plant to black gospel holler to space-choirboys-chorus. The guitar playing of Ty Tabor is excellent throughout. On a track like the full-pelt 'Moanjam' his extended solo would have the most discerning air-guitarist showering the floor with dandruff, but he's a far too eclectic and subtle a player to continue in the same groove for long -he seems equally at home with psychedelic jangle, rock chug or acoustic strum. Above all the three work together as an incredibly tight unit - some jazz-fusion bar-counting muso please listen to the end of 'We Were Born To Be Loved' and tell me what on earth is going on! Doug Pinnick's bass and Jerry Gaskin's drums lock together like steel plates. Lyrically the album deals with the most important subject matter - man's relationships with God, his fellow men, the unborn - without once settling for standard white-metal cliches. Phew - no lyrics about stomping on Satan or about how real men eat demons for breakfast. Instead, a genuine response to life's complexities from a bunch of guys not content to settle for lazy formulas. Innovative, intelligent and mind expanding - music for the 1990's. Anyone who thinks rock's for bone-heads, check this out.

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