Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Album Review: Divide And Conga by King Punch

Over the past year, King Punch have become one of the bands I get most excited to see live. They're an incredible high-tempo ska punk band with some of the best brass players in the scene. A King Punch live set is the most amount of fun, as well as the most exhausting. I was very pleased when an advanced copy of their first EP since 2017's Low Profile was sent my way. Titled Divide And Conga (a nice little nod to their live show), the EP features three brand new songs as well as a fantastic cover of a nu-metal classic. I got my dancing shoes ready for this review.

Divide And Conga begins with the song Sit Still – something that's pretty impossible to do when listening to King Punch. Like I said in my opening paragraph, King Punch have some of the best horns in ska punk and they quickly get the EP off to a high octane start. The horns are played with such a high tempo and result in the song sounding absolutely massive. Lead singer Liam Creech's vocals also really stand out, as on a recording you get such an appreciation for what a strong singer he is. Sit Still is about feeling anxious and how you're affected if you don't take medication. King Punch are such a fun party band that sometimes you forget they do also write songs that tackle the important issues. Up next is Whole Lotto Love. Beginning with some great drums from Tom Maples, the song isn't quite as high in tempo as the EP's opener but will certainly get you dancing with its swing style. Whole Lotto Love asks the question ‘what have you done to deserve all the things in your life?’ and considers how lucky you might have been. I guess the song could be seen as a political or social conversation on how you don't choose where you're born and how things could be much worse for you.

Weekend Warrior is a song that King Punch have been playing live for a little while now. Going back to that sweet, sweet ska punk sound, Weekend Warrior is about working Monday to Friday and treating Saturday and Sunday like you are a king or queen. Creech really showcases some vocal variety as he, at times, basically raps, sometimes croons and also belts out the big chorus. The chorus cries out to be shouted right back at King Punch – that is if you've got the energy from all the skanking you will be doing during the track. Last up is that classic nu-metal cover that I mentioned. If you've seen King Punch before you've probably guessed what it is – Chop Suey by System Of A Down. I imagine that this is such a difficult song to do a good cover of as it's such a unique and iconic tune. King Punch pull it off though! A band with such talented musicians that are also bursting with creativity and charisma was always going to. If you grew up with this song, like I imagine most of the people reading this did, you're really going to enjoy this. They take everything about the original that makes the song so legendary, add some ska flavourings and produce a fantastic version of a complete banger.

Divide And Conga adds to the already very impressive back catalogue of King Punch releases. The UK ska punk scene has seen a surge in great releases over the past two years and this EP certainly stands amongst the best of them. I am now very much looking forward to seeing these songs live at some point, hopefully very soon.

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This review was written by Colin Clark.

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