One of the things that is always interesting to watch in the music industry is to see how a band follows up an album that has been commercially and critically successful. For Australian band Kingswood that was the 2014 album Microscopic Wars which saw the band become a household name with rock fans and even get nominated for Best Rock Album at the ARIA Awards.
Now Kingswood could be excused if they had decided to record a new album that mirrored a lot of the tracks from Microscopic Wars but instead with their follow-up album, After Hours, Close To Dawn sees the band go in a completely different direction and almost end up with an album that you can only explain as experimental.
It is a big risk to take this direction but this album is so diverse that you can’t help but stand back and applaud Kingswood for being so brave. There is no easing into the brand new sound instead the band launches into Looking For Love which begins off as a slow piano driven track, not too dissimilar to what you would expect to hear from Five For Fighting, and then eventually launches into some amazing vocals from Fergus Linacre which give the song a jazzy blues feel.
The edginess continues with Creepin’ which delivers a beautiful melody and harmony over the top of fuzzy guitars and a strong bassline. That bass continues on to a really funky sound on Golden while Library Books sees Kingswood return to their familiar rock sound. Part of Kingswood’s experimental journey obviously took them in a time machine back to the 60s and 70s because Belle sounds like what you would expect The Beach Boys to sound like today, Big City is pure 1960s rock bliss and Like Your Mother is one of the catchiest tracks that you will hear this year. If it doesn’t have you singing ‘shake your body good, just like your mother would’ then you obviously don’t have a musical bone in your body. That catchiness also returns on Atmosphere.
Perhaps the track that best shows that Kingswood’s experimental sound works is the atmospheric Alabama White which is made heavenly by the female vocals and then builds into an absolute collision of noise. It’s a truly memorable track that you will listen to over and over.
The fact that Kingswood has made such an experimental move will surprise a lot of music lovers but after a couple of listens to After Hours, Close To Dawn you’ll be very thankful that they were brave enough to go in this direction.