After receiving nothing but good reviews from punk blogs around the globe for his 2008 debut, Was Dead, King Tuff is back bigger and badder with his self-titled second release on Sub Pop. It comes chock full of suitably titled rock and roll, sass-pop, garage-psych gems.
The album takes off with the aptly named opening track, “Anthem.” The howling guitar is, simply put, pure rock and roll. You can’t help but raise your fist, tap your foot, and yell along with King (Kyle Thomas) as he sings of love songs that “rot in your head.” The album takes a swift turn into a little dancey-pop tune “Alone & Stoned,” full of sing-along choruses and a punchy snare beat that makes you want to “take a walk on the moon” along with King Tuff and all of his headphone wearing friends. And before that dance bug has a chance to wiggle itself out of you, “Keep On Movin’ ” comes by to save the day with a hip-shaking ‘50s bass line and King Tuff’s sassy attitude. The album finally takes softer, more sincere turn with “Unusual World.” The synths mixed with the 50s-esque drum beat that seems to inhabit this entire record, transports you to an interstellar (unusual) world where saddle shoes, moon dust, and movie monsters co-exist. Before your mind is left to wander too far, the album’s single, “Bad Thing” bursts into catchy guitar riffs and a chorus that would even make loveliest cookie-making grandmother scream “I’m a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaad thing!” from her knitting chair. The bluesy, grimy tale of a crew of creepers preying on a woman in “Loser’s Wall” is by far the darkest track on the album and, frankly leaves you feeling a bit used and abused (in a good way). After a few more rockers and foot stompers telling you to “break the rules” and an ode to our favorite celebrities claiming, “they’re foolish and beautiful / they’re the stupid superstars,” King Tuff croons about the “Swamp of Love” in true rock ballad fashion. The album closes with another dangerous dance inducing beat sing-along, “Hit & Run.”
King Tuff will make you dance until your booty hurts, and will make your neighbors hate you (or love you) for never taking it off of your record player.
Written by Chase Mathey, Radio K volunteer