EP: Alvarez Kings – Patience is Strength

Posted: July 3, 2011 in Album reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

 Patience is Strength EP

Alvarez Kings

Of National Importance Records

Released: 11/04/2011

Alvarez Kings – reportedly named after a 1950’s mafia gang – certainly seem to possess the right attitude to succeed in the music industry. The Rotherham four-piece had already secured two European record deals with Italian and German labels respectively when they approached the UK’s Of National Importance records with an offer they couldn’t refuse. “We were getting tired of waiting for them” explained lead singer Simon Thompson in an interview with Exposed magazine. “The good thing about the three deals we’ve signed is that we pretty much have complete control. We’ve told them what we want to release and even when we want to release it.” Command taken.

What’s more impressive is the self-proclaimed ‘regressive pop’ quartet resisted initial courtships with labels in an attempt to cement their sound. And how their dicey gamble has paid off. After sweeping up the coveted Best Live Band gong at this year’s Sheffield Scenester Awards the Kings have gone on to produce a stonker of an EP in Patience Is Strength. The impact of this five song selection is as forceful as the Earth-grazing meteorite to which they share their forename. Laced with eclectic guitar riffs, thunderous drums and groovy basslines, this record is one of the finest indie-rock exports from South Yorkshire since the early days of the Arctic Monkeys. The comparisons end there though with Sheffield’s most-loved primates.

Each track is characterised by an incredibly catchy guitar intro that instantly entices the listener. This isn’t to suggest a repeated pattern in song construction. In You, Me, Them, Us the Kings have crafted a masterful and dynamic tune courtesy of older brother Paul Thompson’s bumbling bass. The mood of panic is conveyed via Thompson junior’s lyrics of “you’re in desperate need of some urgent attention” plus interlude chants of “we’re stuck in a raw situation”. Meanwhile the title track Patience Is Strength and Dark Eyed Children showcase Thompson’s impressively individual vocals on top of classic scratchy guitars.

Neither is there anything grave about Funeral Reunion with its uplifting choruses of “Oh my darling, nothing compares to you” already rousing the band’s fiercely loyal live following.

As graduates of the renowned Sheffield Soundclash alongside ‘partners in crime’ the Playground Mafia, the Kings have gained their fanbase and ‘scenester’ reputation through extensive gigging of the city’s venues. And after a two week European tour, appearances at the SXSW and Isle of Wight festivals plus another two slots lined up for the 2011 Tramlines, the former five-piece are starting to gain the recognition they deserve.

The 2010 single The Sequel is a perfectly moulded EP and curtain closer. “Is this a dream, I’m not really sure” Thompson ponders in a soliloquy-like fashion before realising that “it all works out in the end”. The infectious opening riff returns in the chorus accompanied by lashings of hi-hat, creating a wonderful crescendo – which neatly sums up Patience Is Strength.

Rating: 8 out of 10

This review was published by Sheffield Scenester and can be found at: http://www.thesheffieldscenester.co.uk/#/patience-is-strength-ep/4552755589

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