I don’t know how good I feel about bands that make a number of pop culture references during their tracks. For example, much of what the Barenaked Ladies sucked, and when Billy Joel tried to do the same thing, that sucked too. However, No More Kings drop pseudo-ironic phrase in a way that will not make one grimace like all of the latest links back to the eighties pop culture that really has been bolstered in the last few years by shows like Family Guy. First off, the lyrics are embarrassing in much the same way as the aforementioned Barenaked Ladies (such as “Fell like Darth Vader with this helmet on my head (I can’t see) / I’m in there somewhere past the plastic shell” from “Someday”), but the one thing that No More Kings have that Barenaked Ladies never did have were compelling instrumentation to back up the lyrics throughout the entirety of this album.
The poppy arrangements during this album bring the band into Ben Folds, John Maher, and Jason Mraz-land; even if there are some times where it feels like No More Kings is going to lean back and take the easy way out, a challenging track like “God Breathed” comes forth and shakes all the preconceptions individuals may have about the act. The reason why all of the tracks on this debut album sound so freaking polished is due to the fact that the band has been around longer than most people would thing. The band was together for a few years in the nineties, and then reformed just a few years back. This does not denigrate their efforts on this album, but gives a reason why the band sounds so smooth, so polished, and why all the living members of The Karate Kid would want to associate with them (there was a reunion of sorts on the music video for “Sweep The Leg”.
I am sure that individuals will pick up this album like they did with the releases from The Dan Band and OAR, to relive an earlier period (Even if they were not born or cognizant when the period originally happened); I would like to see what the band would sound like if they dropped all these pop culture references, and if the allure individuals receive from this album is the same, or if the band would lose its distinctive voice. Try it out.
Top Tracks: Someday, Sweep The Leg
No More Kings – S/T / 2007 Astonish / 13 Tracks / http://www.nomorekings.com / http://www.astonish.com / Reviewed 01 May 2007