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Kingston Wall - Kingston Wall I CD (album) cover


Kingston Wall


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 117 ratings

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cloth canopy
5 stars Kingston Wall's debut one of my all-time favourite prog albums ever made, and since I am still young I will no doubt look back on it as a huge part of my teenage years, singing the guitar solos to Nepal in the shower or giving myself head pain for days after headbanging to And I Hear You Call. There is an identifying sound to the whole album (like Walli's guitar tones, the echoes often heard on the drums, and the loose, jamming feel to most of the songs) which is unlike anything I've heard on any other albums. The first time I listened to it, I was so enthralled that I listened to their other two excellent albums in a row right after. The band had already existed in some form for 5 years before the album was made and bassist Jukka Jylli said in an interview that this album was more like a collection of material they had made during that time because of the huge differences in "newness" of some of the songs.

With My Mind - Has the highest quality lyrical content on the album. Opens with a fantastic, slow riff before launching into some very psychedelic verses and slightly poignant choruses. Pete creates quite a catchy riff in the second half of his solo. Perfect song for an opener.

Used To Feel Before - The energy picks up in track 2. An short upbeat rocker with catchy chord progressions that almost disguise themselves as riffs. Walli cries about his love gone wrong in the verses but becomes a lot happier in the much catchier choruses. This song *was* my favourite on the album after the first few listens, so it's probably the most accessible number. The second half of the instrumental section has Pete really going for it on the wah pedal.

I'm Not The One - This song really is the first introduction to Pete's excellent guitar solo writing skills and the album's psychedelia. The lyrics are minimal and shouted, sandwiched between blocks of the song's main riff. Then, once the riff has been played enough times, Walli's solo begins only 1/3rd of the way through the runtime. The first section of it remains faithful to the groove they had in the first part of the song, but once they slow down at 2:10 it turns into one of this album's best moments. Indesipherable chatter occurs in the background while Pete plays a little trippy melody, and then they launch into an interstellar riff section lasting only 15 seconds.

Fire - Not much to say for this cover, but the reggae breakdown that introduces the 3rd verse is very well arranged. Jylli said in an interview that he hated this song. Walli's solos feel more like noodling on a couple of notes rather than well written melodies.

Waste Of Time - Another piece with some nice lyrics, in the same vein as With My Mind. It's not amazing; the choruses drag on a bit and are quite slow. Also, once the verses and first two choruses are over, the bulk of the 2 and a half minute instrumental section is awful. It's just alternating between whispers of "it's just a waste of time" and some unimaginitive wah-ing on the guitar. The drumming is intense though. I guess this is the "immaturity" that many other reviews say is too frequent on the album. The very loud ending is great though, and works as a segue to the infinetely better track 6.

Nepal - My top song on the album. Opens with a key change, signalling a departure from WOT's dragginess. The first minute and a half is a noisy psychedelic jam, almost like a warm up for the musicians. The song's main riff is beautiful. The lyrics are few and don't really make any sense, but I enjoy that. The guitar-made bird noises Walli dubbed over the song give it an even more interesting texture. Walli's solos last upwards of 3 minutes. His first one introduces the Eastern themes he picked up on trips to India, and they are incredibly well written and make use of effect pedals excellently rather than just stepping on it on every note. After a good amount of listens, they become catchy and singable. Solo duties are passed over to Jylli during a break, which Walli starts quietly riffing over. Some chatter similar to that in I'm Not The One begins, which gives me goosebumps, preceding the intense second half of the guitar solo, which is just as well put together as the first. The song crashes down into another chorus and then ends with yet another new riff. Nepal is a phenomenal composition. According to Bassist Jylli in an interview, the band had already finished this song in 1989, three years before its release. This may be why it's so good as they had so much time to make improvements to it. The song title is probably an attempt to be like Led Zeppelin (with their song Kashmir, which is geographically close to Nepal).

And I Hear You Call - This one adds to the eastern themes and psychedelia; the lyrics tell a story of someone who presumably experiences auditory hallucinations after taking psychedelics. This is another favourite and is very danceable especially during the chorus. It's interesting how they don't go back into it after the solo. There's a very tight breakdown at 3:24.

Tanya - A instrumental for Pete's girlfriend at the time. It's pretty, but I don't listen to it unless I'm listening to the whole album.

Now, that's about 40 minutes! Now would be a nice time to end the album since there won't be any space left on the record. Nuh uh. This is the 90s and CDs have been invented, so such barriers are things of the past.

Mushrooms - A monster phenomenal suite of 8 extremely trippy pieces. I love spacing out to this one. Prelude - is exactly what the title says. Interestingly, I was watching a KW concert on youtube from a few years before 1992 and found out this song used to have lyrics that went like "Mushrooms! It makes you feel good!". They were very cringy and I'm glad they didn't keep using them. On My Own - is the only one that is a full song. I really like the way the pleasant riffs are written around the chords, which are really interesting. Also, during the verses, the song is in C# major, while Walli sings in the minor of the key. Something makes me wonder how they knew it would work. The instrumental that follows the second chorus is unique in that the drums slowly increase in volume so by the end its really quite intense but when it begins it's rather ambient. The live version on Real Live Thing introduces more phrases to the solo parts, and vastly overhauls the other instrumental section afterwards. Oh, also, the drum fill that introduces the final chorus is weirdly catchy for something that isn't even a melody. The Weep - Very strange vocals. There's a guy who sounds like he's mumbling in a huge hall through a loudspeaker and Walli weeps melodically over it. It's nice. Mushrooms - A song about drugs. I love the "da da ba ba" parts; they are very catchy and the bassline creates a really neat countermelody. The guitar solo at the end is insane! Especially the short riff at 2:25. Almost works as its own song. Circumstances - I fuckin love this one. Walli repeats some groovy riffs while a backing track full of screaming and shouting plays in the foreground, with some hilarious lines that take close listening to decipher (for example, "WHAT does it all MEAN?", some vomiting noises and what sounds like a shopkeeper shouting anger while pursuing a thief!). The wind instrument in the second half makes it incredibly trippy. (This song is my alarm clock). Captain Relief - The first 45 seconds is my favourite moment on the Mushrooms suite. A very groovy chord progression opens it after a minute of bonkersness from the previous track and the funny instrument from Circumstances hangs around for a bit too. The solo is like a reprise of one of the ones on I'm Not The One. The second half slows down, and honestly I think it should've been separated in the middle (conceived as a different section). It's fun and trippy. More Mushrooms - A funny sketch between two gasping stoners. I love how Walli, who is the band's lead singer, admits to not being able to sing. Then it's an explosive reprise of Mushrooms. The Answer - A deceptively simple melody. Wish it had a proper ending instead of just fading out. But it's a good way to end the suite. 4.5 - Waste of Time sadly brings it down from being a perfect album for me.

cloth canopy | 5/5 |


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