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Non-Prog CD Reviews

King Prawn

Surrender to the Blender

Review by Gary Hill

This CD is very intriguing. The styles that this band blends together make for a very unusual mix. They take ska, punk, hardcore punk, reggae and rap and twist them all into a sound that is King Prawn. They even throw in a couple arrangements that have progressive rock influences. When you consider that one of the things in music that the original punks were rebelling against was prog, that is pretty ironic. There are a couple other things that really separate this band from the bulk of bands like Green Day. First off, this is not pop-punk. The music has a much different edge than that kind of sound, coming across as more closely tied to the older punkers and their greater sense of being genuine. Secondly, this music has very full arrangements, both in terms of fairly complex changes and in terms of musical layerings. All of these elements make for a very fresh take on the “alternative” styles that this group represents.

The lineup of the band is Al Rumjen, Nikolai, Babar Luck and Devil Hands. Dr. Nelly is listed as a featured musician. This grouping is augmented by the talents of Alex Gordon, Matt “The Professor” Dowse, Jake Fielding, Kimberlee McCarrick and Martin McCarrick.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intro
This extremely brief instrumental is made up of pretty and dramatic keys with a melancholy tone.
Someone to Hate
With a great rather haunting acoustic guitar mode beginning this one, percussion joins in and the vocals enter as a rap. The track gets quite lushly arranged with strings overlaid. This mode is interrupted by a hard edged punk-oriented section with Jello Biafraish vocals. As it drops back down, the string arrangement gets even more lush before the rap begins anew. After another hard edged segment, the piece drops to a reggaeish jam that gives way to the harder section again. This is a very interesting cut.
No Peace
A fast paced, old school punk guitar line starts this one. As the other instruments join, this becomes a fast paced ska number.
Day In Day Out
This one seems to combine killer ska stylings with the sounds of classic Clash. “Day in day out, Better watch your back, They’re watching you with security cams, They watch you coming in and they watch you go again”.
London Born
This starts in a great mellow groove with a wonderfully jazzy retro sound. The vocals enter as the cut transforms to slow reggae. The chorus takes on a more Clashish punk texture. This one even features strings overlaid to create an intriguing texture.
Be Warned
This one is very straight ahead punk in a Clashish sort of mode for a time, but part of the cut is in a bouncy ska style.
The Postman Song
This is a song of few words. The entire lyrics are “Postman! Postman! Don’t be slow, Be like Elvis, Go man go!” The number is an incredibly brief old school hardcore piece.
Your Worst Enemy
With a fun and bouncy chorus, the verse is in a slower mode. This is another where the vocals call to mind Jello Biafra. It features a very tasty guitar solo and includes a killer bluesy instrumental break. “It’s true, Life is the only illusion.”
American Funded Genocide
Hard edged and fast almost metallic chops make up the music of this cut. The vocals here, again, are quite Dead Kennedysish and really put this one over the edge into old style hardcore punk.
Amuse the Young and Amaze the Old
This one starts quite reggaeish and continues in that direction for a time. Then it shifts into more ska oriented territory. The arrangement on this song gets quite interesting.
Espiritu Du Carnaval
Starting with a classic rock texture, after the intro the cut switches to pure ska. This instrumental contains some unusual changes and off kilter timings.
Crack Head
This is frantically paced rock with definite rap leanings. It suddenly shifts gear to a jazzy sort of groove with reggaeish vocals. The opening segment makes a return later in the cut, but gives way again to the jazzy groove. The hard edged rap oriented segment also returns once more, followed again by the jazz oriented segment. This time that section includes some almost Crimsonish jamming. The number turns quite funky before ending.
The Postman Song (2nd Post)
Starting with the sounds of an orchestra tuning, this time the composition is done as an orchestral piece - nice job!
People Taking Over
This one feels like a definite hard edged rap cut, then shifts gear to hard edged rock, then becoming skaish as the horns join the mix.
Freedom Day
A great and pretty balladic mode with ethnic overtones begins this one. The track shifts gear to a potent ska sort of arrangement.
 
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