Getting somewhere close to emulating the energy of the scene that saw Kings of Leon, The Killers, Razor Light, Kaiser Chiefs and the Kooks emerge in the first half of the noughties; Alveraz Kings have garnered themselves a substantial fan base following the release of their successful 2011 EP Patience in Strength. Having gone on to play SXSW, the Isle of Wight Festival and the O2 Wireless Festival, they are now about to launch their new EP on Of National Importance Records. The Sheffield indie-pop four piece are making serious waves.
While some of the bands from that period, such as Kings of Leon and The Killers, have gone on to both water down their sound and become U2-like stadium monsters; others like Razor Light have stopped bothering the charts so much and are now playing the more low-key festivals such a Crooked Ways. Some like Arctic Monkeys are still successful, while evolving their sound with each albums, something that these bands needs to do if their careers are to survive.
Reverend and the Makers, another example, now have elements of drum n bass and dub-step in their new indie disco floor fillers and after a long break are now riding back into the mainstream, following a successful support slot with Noel Gallagher and it’s on the coattails of this current wave of indie that Alveraz Kings could possibly ride into mainstream success. The indie pop scene is a difficult egg to crack, so do the Alvarez Kings have the right ingredients to make it?
While the Kings aren’t offering anything that hasn’t been done before; and let’s face it, who is right now in the world of indie pop, what they do have here is summer laden, infectious and enjoyable tunes for the masses.
The title track’s bass driven groove has a similar urgency to that first Kings of Leon album and vocally, you are firmly in something like Pigeon Detectives territory. Second track Fractured Bones & Reputations is more of the same, with more emphasis this time of the faux accents.
The EP really comes into its own on The Other Side of Sadness, which sees elements of funk seep into the mix a la Foals and the Reverend. It’s quite good and the kind of change in direction indie bands should be doing to help them stand out in that massive crowd. After a great mid breakdown, the track rolls out into a massive anthemic slice of goodness that is worthy of any festival stage; an easy highlight of the EP.
Closing on Picking up the Pieces, an acoustic number which holds the focus of the lads’ voices and some twinkling lead guitar; it’s a real treat through it is the secret track which surpasses everything here for me. What sounds like a totally stripped back and solo performance from band frontman Simon; it is not just an amazing vocal performance but a showcases for a real knack at song writing.
In what is the most commercial area of indie-pop, Alvarez Kings offer a shot in the arm and something of quality to appeal to those pop masses. While, in the larger scheme of things, The Other Side of Sadness is a real step in the right direction in staying on top of their game. Definitely worth checking out for fans of Kings of Leon, The Kooks and Reverend and the Makers.