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Kingston Wall - Kingston Wall I CD (album) cover


Kingston Wall


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.51 | 116 ratings

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4 stars The debut album one of Finland's major gifts to rock music: guitarist extraordinaire Petri Walli (the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix!) and his band KINSTON WALL.

1. "With My Mind" (4:39) nice wall of sound but the vocals feel lacking in authentic enthusiasm. Even some impressive lead guitar wah-pedal soloing can't really make up for the dullness of the rest of the song. (8.25/10)

2. "Used to Feel Before" (4:02) very bluesy, HENDRIX-like foundation for a rockin' song. Perhaps this is the song that planted the "the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix" seed in my brain--(though not the chorus). Definitely a late 60s blues-rock vibe going on here--Zeppelin or maybe even a little Black Sabbath; no, definitely Hendrix. (8.5/10)

3. "I'm Not the One" (3:43) another Hendrix-like tune with a BEASTIE BOYS-style choral vocal delivery. The guitar playing is smokin' hot but nothing really new or innovative--until the third minute when echo-guitar is accompanied by background crowd chatter noises. I wonder if Omar Rodriguez-Lopez ever heard Petri or the Wall's music before they formed The Mars Volta. (8.5/10)

4. "Fire" (2:58) an actual Hendrix cover! Petri does not (yet) have the vocal capacity to pull off a Hendrix song but in the guitar department he is making it his own! (8.5/10)

5. "Waste of Time" (6:26) again, the blues-rock bands of the 60s immediately come to mind--those bands who were exploring the loud, proto-"metal" sounds and styles at that time. Even the melodies feel and sound like that old era (Bowie, Spirit). The wild fourth and fifth minutes display the first exposition of the Wall's all-out, no-holds-barred excellence! This is rock excellent--the future of Kingston Wall! The band is playing so tight--as one! (8.75/10)

6. "Nepal" (8:37) a long intro of wah-pedal electric guitar soloing and crashing cymbals open the first 90 seconds of this before a structured song is actually established--one that is much more sedate and smooth that the opening would seem to indicate. Cool bird sounds coming from a second track of Petri's guitar. Again, the band feels pretty tight, pretty jazzed up--as if the album's first four songs were just warmups and now they're really fully engaged, fully entrained--though not quite as tight as the second half of that previous song. Petri is in the zone--going off into the cosmos--until surprisingly relinquishing the lead to the bass player. I love the psychedelia shouts and cryptic phrases in the background--and then he steps to the fore again--this time urging the bass and drum players to flash and shine at the same time. A little THIN LIZZY-like multi-instrumental regurgitation of the main melody before everybody crashes to the finish. (17.5/20)

7. "And I Hear You Call" (4:55) a decent song with an odd almost Caribbean feel to the rhythm tracks, yet the melodies feel almost Greek, while Petri's guitar showmanship pushes over the edge into new territories. (8.5/10)

8. "Tanya (3:51) slow-picked echoed and distorted electric guitar notes open this. Bass notes, drum hits, and background reverbed scream/wails join in. A very bluesy, JEFF BECK-like song--an instrumental with a BEATLES-like melody line--that seems to sing a tale of woe and tribulation. (8.25/10)

- "Mushrooms" (21:09) (34.5/40): 9. I - Prelude (1:18) - intentionally strummed guitar chords and cymbal play support Petri's wailing-echoed guitar play. (4.25/5) 10. II - On My Own (6:50) - steady rumba beat over which Petri sings in a URIAH HEEP-like melody about wasting time. Great chorus. Great song that could have been even better with better background vocals and more "in the pocket" drumming. I like the bass player exploring his own trajectory while Petri solos in the fourth minute. Then there is an odd shift into a space-dreamy sequence of effects and musical waves rising and falling (which feels as if it should have been designated with its own sub-title), but then we return to the "I wanna be" chorus for the final minute. (13.25/15) 11. III - The Weep (2:01) - gentle guitar and cymbal play over which two very odd vocal tracks compete for dominance: one that is wailing, almost crying, the other that is like an indecipherable squawk coming from a PA system voice. Interesting dichotomy. (8.25/5) 12. IV - Mushrooms (3:04) - a return to the Beastie Boys form of singing over staccato syncopated music eventually smooths and flattens out for the poppy chorus. There is absolutely no pop, no fluff, in Petri's ensuing guitar solo, though: this is all rock at it's Alvin Lee/Ronnie Montrose kickin' tops. (9/10) 13. V - Circumstances (2:18) - similar rhythm as the previous section with pseudo-Islamic chant-wailing over the top--accompanied by wild sax play (that sounds like it came from Vietnam or Mecca). Protends of Koenji Hyakkei? (4.5/5) 14. VI - Captain Relief (2:15) back to Western rock--Petri let's loose and he is on fire! Even when the band quiets down, Petri's solo is psychedelic majesty! (4.5/5) 15. VII - More Mushrooms (2:07) a conversation between two druggies gives way to the Beastie Boys theme and choral vocals of the previous "Mushrooms" section. Here Petri plays a bottleneck/slide for the lead, until ? (4.25/5) 16. VIII - The Answer (1:16) an awesome sonic landscape to finish with. (4.5/5)

Total Time: 60:20

Plenty of flashes of the rise to virtuosic levels of instrument mastery are on display here--but they aren't quite there yet--even Petri has some growing to do (unbelievably). But the power and walls of sound are there--definitely there. An excellent album of late-60s sounding psychedelic blues rock.

B/four stars; an very good addition to any prog lover's music collection--especially if you like A) Hendrix, B) hard driving psychedelic rock, and/or C) later Petri Walli/Kingston Wall albums.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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