Sumerian Kyngs: Fiat Tagliero from recordings by Roy Weird and Cliff Dowding live in October 2012 @ The Brunswick, Hove Actually.
Paradise9: Take Me To The Future
I've been following these 2 local bands for the better part of 10 years now having seen them both on the same memorable evening at the Brighton venue once known as the Ocean Rooms. My reason for being there was to see my friend, the late Mark Jenner, playing with The Kyngs, who entranced me. Paradise9 were also on menu that night and I instantly fell under their spell too.
Superficially they may seem pretty similar outfits, both being bands who draw heavily from a number of traditions, many of which were prevalent in the era of the Great Guitar and Blues Boom and Psychedelic Head Music - the years surrounding the turn of the decades the 1960s and 70s.
However, closer listening to these 2 albums reveals just how significantly different they are. While both bands are very liberal and indiscriminate in plundering ideas from a plethora of musical sources and traditions, they tend to centre their signature sounds around quite distinct basic core-genres and the way they choose to hang them together is quite varied although both strike a huge number of bulls-eyes with the concoctions they create. [Am I rambling...?]
The Sumerian Kyngs have a sound which seems mostly rooted in The Blues and despite having an electronica wizard [Clifford Dowding - aka Xanthus] in their line-up emanate a loose swampy atmosphere both in live performance and here on disc. The relatively recent replacement vocalist Kyng Tony, whose voice falls somewhere between Dr John and the late lamented Captain Don Van Vliet very much enhances this characteristic.
On the other hand, Paradise9 exhibit an altogether spacier sort of sound, tempered with a jagged edge probably borrowed from the early years of the Punk era. I've previously described them as Hawkwind meets The Clash - with a weird hybrid of Robert Calvert and Joe Strummer up front.
Okay - so we find ourselves with CD-albums out at the same time, which is pretty thrilling for me - hence the title line for the reviews. It really isn't one band up against the other because, as the foregoing rigmarole sets out, they actually occupy different spots on the musical and psychedelic spectrums.
Ironically, the Kyngs offering kicks off with the spacier sounding trackm [Star Mystyk] of the two, probing the relationship between outer and inner space, whereas P9's opener, Digital Signs, being a more New Wavy social comment on modern technology. This highlights the main difference between the bands - The Kyngs' music takes an introverted line exploring the self, love,life,spirit etc whereas Paradise9 is largely concerned with our political position in society and The Universe. Of course that is a monstrous over-simplification and I hope the bands will forgive me if they don't believe this to be true but as the an autonomous audient floundering about in the space-time swamp, I'm have to tell it as I hear it!
But considering each album as an individual product/piece of art/whatever-you-choose-to-call-it, for no particular reason, I'll start with Paradise9. As I said the first track is an observation on 21st-century western culture which hits home hard - but wait... as it progresses the album launches into the Solar System and does what one expects of them - cruising at the speed of sound,if not light, using Leader Gregg McKellectric's swooping sound-desk to trip out and fill our heads with acid. We must also credit the other band members in this production - the rocket is propelled as all good space vehicles are with SOX and LOX, the Solid Oxygen of Neil Matthars on bass and the brilliant Carl Sampson on drums; and Liquid Oxygen supplied by Tyrone Thomas on Lead Guitar while Jaki Windmill, djembe, supplies an Earthy grounding to the extra-terrestrial meanderings of the other instrumentalists. As always, Gregg proves one doesn't need the voice of a choir-boy [giving us all hope] to make the subject score double-top. He also takes further interesting diversions using his electronically-treated clarinet.
The album is built around the tracks [most notably the magnificent eco-ethical challenge 'Nothing for Tomorrow'] previously available on P9's 'State of The Nation' EP reviewed here back in February 2012 - they take their time and are very particular about standards! - but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you get the present album, else you'll miss some cracking numbers. Of especial interest to old hippies like myself are the 2 excellent long tracks [10+ minutes - not exactly yer punk ethic!] 'Points of View' and 'Take Me to The Future' - these give ample scope for the band to explore their very wide musical interests and give plenty of headroom to deliver on their collective multisplendid versatility.
Moving onto the Sumeryan Kyngs CD: this is a feast of ear-candy which allows one to really get down and get with it. Much of the band's appeal lies within its ability within a very short space of time in a song [final track 'Ultravyolet' for example] to establish a groove-train which invites you to jump on board and ride along , stay with it and come out at the other end feeling really well-chilled.
Then we should mention the line up of the band which can vary from gig to gig, because of members' commitments elsewhere - eg Monty Oxymoron is often away touring with his other combo - The Damned - so substitutions have to be made or positions changed in what could otherwise be a full team of about a dozen! Besides the very oily sound of the vocals previously mentioned we have a superb procession of instrumental gold to be mined here which would take far too long to catalogue their creativity and virtuosity - so I''ll just pick out my particular favourites, namely Kyng Stuart on Mouthorgans and Kyng Steve on Sexophone - each band member brings his own individual ingredients to the kitchen and together they bake up a totally mouthwatering gumbo.
I don't think you need me to go any further - you will have gathered that I'm mightily impressed by both of these albums and think you'd be foolish to overlook either of them if their areas are your bag as well as mine. If you do get a chance to go to see these bands live, you'll not be disappointed as they're both equally at home and on disc. So, in space/time honoured fashion I urge you to go out and buy them today... if not before!