King King is back with their sophomore release – Standing in the Shadows. They are fronted by the powerhouse vocals and guitar skills of Alan Nimmo, one of The Nimmo Brothers. Make no mistake though, this isn’t The Nimmo Brothers, nor is it a cleverly disguised solo project, and it isn’t designed to replace The Nimmo Brothers who are currently touring together. What started as a little side project has come to rival The Nimmo Brothers. Bass player Lindsay Coulson partners with Alan to write much of the material and they add the immense talents of Wayne Proctor who used to play with Oli Brown, and the keyboard skills of Bennett Holland. King King clearly set themselves apart as a band with a mix of rock, blues and ballads.
The album sets the pace out of the gate with the funky beat and hard driving rhythm of the blues rocker “More Than I Can Take.” Alan rips into a sizzling solo and lets his impassioned vocal clearly set this band apart from other pretenders of blues rock. This is followed by the seething burn of “Taken What’s Mine.” The song ebbs and flows in intensity as Alan masterfully pulls the listener along as he pours out his heart in two masterful solos.
Things take a turn toward the soulful ballad side on the beautiful seven minute long “A Long History Of Love” where Bennett Holland’s organ skills carry the song along while we listen to Alan lament about the toll this love has taken on him while simultaneously making him a better man. A cover of fellow Scotsman Frankie Miller’s “Jealousy” is the first video that has been released for this album. You can’t help but sense the torment, insecurity, and unrequited passion as Bennett’s piano leads us down the self-realization that the love isn’t returned at the same level. “What Am I Supposed to Do” is the introspective aftermath of “Jealousy” as he contemplates what’s next now that he knows the truth.
“One More Time Around” is just a straight ahead rock mantra about getting up, putting your head down and plugging away that’s got that rock influenced hard beat and heavy guitar riff that is reminiscent of the sound of the Nimmo Brothers, which is probably a direct result of the co-writing credit of Stevie Nimmo. Things take a turn with the lively “Can’t Keep From Trying” and its cheerful pop feel. However, we quickly return to the excellently written “Coming Home (Rest Your Eyes).” Both this and the previous tune are formatted in a way that they might make radio airplay; but this is the one that deserves to be played.
The album begins to wraps things up with a cover of Free’s “Heavy Load” where the soulful side of King King is evident once again. Bennett’s piano playing opens and closes on Paul Rodgers’ excellent lyrics with a throbbing rhythm leading us to another dominate guitar solo. Everything leads up to the upbeat final track of “Let Love In,” which lightens things up and leaves everyone feeling good.
Their debut album Take My Hand won Blues Album of The Year in Britain and they also won the Best British Blues Band award. King King is here to proclaim with this album that last year’s accolades weren’t a fluke and they won’t be standing in the shadows anymore. This isn’t a candidate for British Blues album of the year. Standing in the Shadows needs to be on everyone’s list worldwide for album of the year.
The Review: 9.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
- Heavy Load
- One More Time Around
- A Long History of Love
- More Than I Can Take
- Taken What’s Mine
The Big Hit
- A Long History of Love
Review by Kevin O’Rourke