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King's X - Tape Head CD (album) cover


King's X


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2.77 | 40 ratings

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3 stars On first impressions it would seem we have another album from King's X following their by now familiar formula of melodic heavy rock. Doug Pinnick's soulful vocals are still there, so are the Beatles influenced harmonies and Ty Tabor's distinctive, rich and full guitar sound is still present. What's sets it apart from their previous albums is the quality of the songs. While Tape Head is far from a bad album, it does have some very good tracks, but overall there's not a lot here to draw the listener back for repeated plays when there's so many other excellent King's X albums to listen too.

With opener Groove Machine we might think we're onto another winner here. It has a classic grinding Tabor riff, strong melody and they go through their quiet verse/heavy chorus routine prevalent on quite a few of their songs. It's a great way to start and Fade continues in a similar though a little slower vein, also featuring some nice vocal harmonies. Over and Over is the band in ballad mode with a heavy chorus and very good it is too.

So far so good but the first cracks appear with Ono. A good opening riff descends into a track offering little interest. Pinnick's vocals are treated on the verse; it sounds like he's singing through a megaphone and the chorus has a rather simplistic uninspiring melody. Cupid and Ocean, the latter with Tabor on lead vocals whilst not bad are a far cry from classic King's X. Little Bit of Soul is better and proves the point that what separates the good from the mediocre here is simply a strong melody.

Hate You, a mid paced rocker passes by almost unnoticed but Higher Than God is better and has a nice Tabor guitar solo. Happy, a little longer than the rest of the 3 to 4 minute tracks, getting on for 6 minutes is pretty good. Despite the title it's quite a dark sounding track with an excellent pummelling Pinnick bass line driving the verse and inventive vocal melodies on the chorus. A few more like this could have a made a difference.

Mr Evil is another darker sounding moment befitting it's title and World is a fast rocker but goes nowhere of interest. They close with a live track called Walter Bella Farkas; King's X play jazz anyone? Well not quite, perhaps more a freeform racket but I suspect tongues were firmly in cheeks on this one.

Tape Head is a rather frustrating album as it has some very good moments but too much is mediocre to put it up there with their best. Still, too good to grade as only a 2 star album so I'll settle for a rather begrudged 3.

Nightfly | 3/5 |


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