The King Blues : Long Live the Struggle : album review

The King Blues – Long Live the Struggle (Transmission Recordings)
CD / DL / Ltd LP
Available now

The fourth and final album from The King Blues is a rousing and emotional call to arms for the modern age, urging listeners to ‘Keep trying. Keep moving. Keep the Faith’.

I’m not fourteen anymore. The bands that meant the absolute world to me then are gone, split and reformed or forgotten. I apologise, some of them are still out there but me, as I’m not fourteen any more, they mean somewhat less. If I was fourteen, if I was just starting out on this life where music means all, then The King Blues would mean everything.

They have split now. They are already gone, no chance to see them tear apart a crowd. But every chance to play them as loud as is humanly possible so everyone else can hear them. We are fucking Angry…indeed.

”˜We are what we own’ It starts with a happy strumming, it’s a calm angry story about how we are judged on what we have, the consumer society that has told everyone what they must own and how people get stuff anyway they can. How greed is learnt and where that has got us.

A slow dance beat and a King Blues warning….’We Are The Future’……over a hard beat and noise to match. This song builds and builds. A call to arms, a ragged scream and a drumbeat, keyboards lifting and a rap that makes you move. Itch tearing his throat up shouting and it’s done.

‘Modern Life Has Let Me Down’ is trying to be a part of what we have, the suit and tie, the nine to five job, staying in your hometown, never moving forward. The realisation that at the end of the day..what are we left with. A question of where did the caring and community go? The isolation of this world spelt out clearly and very angrily.

‘Wasted Words’. Love ends and then where do you go. Gentle music and harmonies map out the end of a relationship. The hurt and betrayal. The anger and uncertainty. Sometimes you have to go, sometimes it needs to be at an end.

Then it gets harder, ‘Can’t Bring Me Down’, a drum and bass beat and fast talking from Itch, a screaming chorus and just anger distilled into a full on rant.

Which goes into a reggae beat and soft sounds and Itch is happy, Not even love can ”˜Tear us apart’ it’s the sound of the sun shining on concrete and having a rare good day. It’s the sound of a good day, of a deep breath between arguments. The rain stopping.

”˜This is my Home’ is breathtaking. It’s a quiet piano and percussion and Itch talking to his girlfriend as he tries to get home through the streets torn apart by the riots. It’s truly moving. Warning and worry to start with and then fury as he realises how bad it got. The chorus is his girlfriend telling the kids to get away and leave them alone. It’s the breakdown of community and the culture of having to have what the media tells us we need, a feeling very close to the King Blues heart.

”˜Booted out of hell’ is, I think, the story of people dispossessed and destitute and with nothing left but their thoughts, ”˜if you’re going through hell…keep going’ it’s the feeling that there is something that there is something better and somewhere better to be. The feeling of a kid kicked out of his parents home and having to fend for themself.

”˜Power to the People’. The King Blues have always been about moving this world forward by making it change. The people can rise and take over and change this world for the better. Persuasion and argument and then the power of change. Do something, say something, stand up and change things.

”˜Walking Away’ Itch creates a picture that you can see, as clear as you are there. It’s the end of a another doomed relationship, another time of sadness and regret. The way it’s sung over strings and piano is makes it as sad as all those classic soul songs I remember.

”˜When the Revolution Comes’ ska sound and a warning to all the people that have labelled the youth as scum. It’s as angry as anything the King Blues have done and no less hard hitting for the ska beat.

”˜Keep the Faith’ is it. The end of the King Blues. Itch sings softly to begin and as his voice lifts the music moves up too. Is this it? He seems to say, he knows it’s hard to do, it’s difficult not to give up hope and to just shrug your shoulders and walk away. But he is telling us, along with all the King Blues, that it’s worth it. The hairs rise on the back of your neck, an emotion stirs, and you are singing and then shouting along. Keep trying. Keep moving. Keep the Faith.

Then it’s done. King Blues are gone.

I played this in the car and my twelve year old daughter wanted to know what each of the songs meant. She knew they meant something and she wanted the song about the riots over again.

I’m hoping that they were the whole world for a few of you. That they meant everything to some. I’m hoping that their message reached some of you and that the fourteen and forty year olds that were there will carry something forward.

The King Blues are dead, keep the faith.

All words by Adrian Bloxham. You can read more from Adrian on Louder Than War here.

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