The King Blues - Long Live The Struggle

The King Blues - Long Live The Struggle

The news earlier this spring that The King Blues had disbanded sent ripples of confusion through the industry and created no small amount of distress among the group’s fans.

Within minutes of the announcement, the news had trended world wide on Twitter and appeared on hundreds of social networking platforms and websites. Every platform from Radio 1 to The Guardian bemoaned the band’s passing and asked simply, why?

While the band’s demise is quite clearly a tragedy for music (who else fused the melodic touch of Bob Marley with the polemic of Joe Strummer?), the one ray of hope is that the band who went from week night support slots at Camden’s Purple Turtle to selling out the Roundhouse (also in Camden for all you geography nuts) have left us with quite possibly their finest work to date.

Long Live The Struggle released on 2 July through Transmission Recordings is the follow up to 2011’s critically acclaimed Punk & Poetry album and is a giant step forward in terms of the band’s sound, song writing and general approach.

And while it retains the characteristics that have made The King Blues one of the most vital bands to come out of the UK in many a year, there is a newfound maturity and depth. Tracks such as ‘We Are The Future’ and ‘Modern Life Has Let Me Down’ (released as a free download in May) still scream like the King Blues of old. Frontman Itch Fox spits out his lyrics with an anger last heard on early Rage Against  The Machine albums.

Lines such as Remind yourself your tie is not a noose and You can take this job and shove it are certainly not the musings of a man content with his or indeed, society’s lot. Elsewhere however, there are gentler, subtler outings such as ‘Walking Away’, ‘Tear Us Apart’ and the tearjerker, ‘Wasted Words’.

Part of this more mature sound is in part down to the efforts of producer John Feldmann. The LA-based sonic arranger who has brought his magic touch to artists such as Good Charlotte, The Used and Panic! At The Disco among others, had been eager to work with the band for a number of years. His keenness is evident throughout Long Live The Struggle, employing different genres and musical textures throughout its 12 tracks.

There are special guests on the record too. ‘Can’t Bring Me Down’ features Jason Butler, while Rancid frontman Tim Armstrong guests on ‘Booted Out of Hell’.

Even posthumously the King Blues still do what they always did best: producing a rallying cry that sounds neither pompous nor judgemental. This time they’ve gone and done it with a bit more flair. They were never going to go out with a whimper, let’s face it.

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