I’m of the opinion that Michael Monroe’s current album, ‘Sensory Overdrive’ is THE album of 2011. Having said that though, this new album from Kings Of The Sun (KOTS) runs a very close second. This album was recorded in the late 90’s and is only seeing the light of day in 2011. The landscape for guitar fuelled rock n roll is much healthier in 2011 than it was back then, so hopefully punters will be a little more receptive to KOTS than they were in the mid 90’s. Four facts before we get started. 1) KOTS are the most underappreciated and criminally ignored of all Australian bands. 2) Jeff Hoad is the consummate front man/rock star. 3) Drummer Cliff Hoad is an incredible drummer who oozes originality and should be the guy all aspiring drummers look up to. 4) KOTS are one of the ten best Australian bands of all time. As someone who has been a rock ‘n’ roll disciple since 1980, the reader is well advised to consider those facts, as they are not made lightly.
You will not hear a better album in 2011 by any Australian band. They are not a major label? You don’t hear ‘em on the radio? Just add those two injustices to a list of ‘em that KOTS have endured throughout their lengthy career. KOTS are now releasing their albums direct to the public via their web site, (eliminating the music biz bureaucracy altogether), including this, their newly released album, ‘Daddy Was A Hobo Man’. The album kicks off with the title track, a likable mid tempo rocker with capital groove. ‘Disco Devil Man’ is up next and it cooks, underpinned by a fuzzed out shuffle riff and a lyric that tells of the tale of dance club raver with a head full of chemicals. Some nice time changes too. ‘Speak To Elvis’ is a also a goodun’, so get a message to the King. ‘Take Off Your Pants And Dance’ is my favourite cut on the album. Tasty wah wah, suggestive and sexy lyrical theme (which KOTS have excelled at for a long time), swagger aplenty and just damn catchy. No one on the planet, (with the exception of Kevin K) write catchy three minute pop songs better than KOTS. In fact this tune typifies the KOTS signature sound. Catchy, melodic and memorable – lots of hooks, lead guitar (that often follows the melody line) and unparalleled (in Australia at least) drumming. The Hoad Brothers are amazing song writers who can craft music that is catchy, distinctive and memorable – which in essence is perfect pop music. Don’t forget also that front man Jeff Hoad is also an incredible lead guitar player – a fact that often goes unnoticed. My second choice pick from the album is ‘Louis Punk From Hell’ which again follows the signature KOTS sound. Great riff, lyrical wit and humorous delivery. Sing along chorus to boot. I really dig ‘Strange Ground’ too. It’s got a nice groove to it and a tasty guitar tone. It’s nice to hear Jeff really test his vocal range on this one. You want full tilt rock n roll ? With its high octane tempo, ‘Jokers Wild’ will no doubt get you out of your seat. Best cranked up nice and loud. Surprise of the album has to be the brooding, epic like ‘Blue Surf Tragedy’. This is indeed a well crafted tune, plaintive yet almost spiritual, that deals with the subject of drowning. “We prayed for waves to wash out sins away, the tide did turn, echoes of that fateful night when I lost you”. It’s sombre, though provoking and littered with emotive lead guitar work. First class. A rating for the album? 9 out of 10.
Back in the late 1980’s, many people couldn’t tell the cream from the crap. Every hard rockin’ dude had long hair and a low slung Gibson – from Underneath What to dross like Ugly Kid Joe. Far too few were clued on enough to recognise that KOTS were a cut above the rest and indeed – world class. KOTS over ANYTHING that came out of LA in the mid to late 80’s – Guns ‘n’ Roses included. Don’t believe me ? Head to http://www.kingsofthesunband.com and prove me wrong. I’ve been listening to Hoad Brother rock ‘n’ roll for well over twenty years now – become a convert too and join the party. It’s truly addictive. (You can buy this album from the band’s web site here for only $15)