1 Mar 2021

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Chris and the Kingsmen - Album Review: Regular Joe

19 Nov 2019 // A review by Mike Alexander

It’s been a while coming but Chris Ward could well be New Zealand’s answer Jimmy Barnes – a genuine working class hero. His debut album is ostensibly a solo record but not without the blood, sweat and tears of the Kingsmen, a band of merry men including Chris Close, David Cloughley, Frankie Daly and Ben Crosson, who co-wrote three of the tracks, boosted by more merry men and women, Aaron Boot, Josh Saville, Ben Lill, producer TeMatera Smith and backing vocalists Jodi Wareing, Tumanako Timirau, Lucy Hiku and Lissel and Magau Stewart.

Right from the get-go on his debut album, Regular Joe, the Christchurch based singer lays his cards on the table with a classic rock sound that flexes its muscles with the dynamics of a Led Zeppelin with a wailing siren in the background that’s straight out of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. A short and sharp burst of guitar stabs through the questing and questioning Run And Hide, with Ward riding a vocal line that’s pure fire in the belly. 

Star is notable for the introduction of sax and more guitar aerodynamics, while Waiting On A Rainy Day zig zags around a relentless rhythm and some squalling guitar.

The tempo drops from hop scotch on speed to Lost, an initially slow paced ballad, that grinds its way through a tortured lyric "heal me, I need to feel safe", to an intense climax and soaring vocal wail and banked guitars that, fall away and find resolution in a soft bass line.

An almost church-like keyboard and piano steer Take Control, which snakes along with muted trumpet, and comes across as one of the more accusatory tracks on the album but if Ward has a sermon to preach it’s delivered more as a reality check than with any real venom. Still, there’s fire in the belly and if we get burned it often means there are lessons to be learned, which the lyric "sometimes we’re strange because we change" on The Change suggests.

It’s a soul searching vocal, with a Springsteenish-feel to it that bleeds into the acoustically-driven first single Baby Blue, an odd change of pace until it bursts alive into a sprawling rocker, while the tempo reaches a happy medium with Cold Solitude even if it’s slightly antithetical to the state of resignation the song suggests. Likewise, Me Again almost tangos to a reflective duet featuring the stunning Lissel Stewart, who announces her vocal presence in much the same way as Annie Crummer did on the Netherworld Dancing Toys’ classic For Today.

Worn The Battle is brass tinged and fringed before Ward’s gritty vocal takes centre stage again on the album’s closer The Same. It’s a no-frills, down to earth affirmation about looking forward and leaving the past behind. In many ways, it’s the perfect mirror in which to view Regular Joe. It has musical echoes of the past while being forward thinking in its musical arrangements.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Chris and the Kingsmen

Chris and the Kingsmen is the brainchild of Chris Ward is a Christchurch based singer/songwriter and producer. His music style is influenced by a wide variety of artists including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ben Harper, Sublime and Bruce Springsteen to mention a few.

When Chris was going through the process of building his own studio, he was put in contact with producer TeMatera Smith (Troy Kingi, Tony Durant, Seventy One Sunset, Symphony of Screams etc.), who agreed to come to Christchurch and provide advice. During conversation Chris mentioned he had a small recording project of a few songs, and after he had heard the strength of the demos, TeMatera offered his services as producer. “I was surprised and taken aback by the depth and quality of this hitherto unknown songwriter” says Smith, “and felt compelled to be a part of his journey to produce a wonderful album… and that it is. A work of which I am very proud”. It was decided that twelve numbers would be recorded over two sessions and the resulting album Regular Joe includes the very first song Chris ever wrote, as well as one which was only written between sessions.

The first single Baby Blue was co written by Chris and longtime friend and collaborator Ben Crosson. "It's a simple song really. We got together and wrote it to try and capture the moment when your eyes lock with someone who completely mesmerizes you".

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Chris and the Kingsmen


There are no releases to display for Chris and the Kingsmen.

Other Reviews By Mike Alexander

Naircol - Single Review: Turbo Outrun
04 Feb 2021 // by Mike Alexander
In an interview with Naircol, following the release of his debut album Isolate late last year, he put collaborative ventures at the top of his wish list. It seems Santa Claus came calling in the form of Canadian producer Tokyo Rat, the result of which is the dynamic driving anthem Turbo Outrun.
Claire Cowan - Composition Review: Hansel and Gretel
16 Dec 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel is, ah, rather 'grim' to say the least. It’s the story of a brother and sister who get lost in the woods and are befriended by a cannibalistic witch who lives in a house made out of sweet things, most notably gingerbread.
Mahoney Harris - Single Review: The Shifting of the Light
19 Nov 2020 // by Mike Alexander
There's an evocative image conjured up early on in The Shifting of the Light that beautifully illustrates the underlying theme of letting go. In referring to "paradise ducks made for life returning to their bowers time after time" singer-songwriter Mahoney Harris might well be talking about 'soul-mates' or a similarly intimate relationship that felt as if it was meant to last but didn't.
Eden Iris - Single Review: I Just Can't Turn It Off
12 Nov 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Having exorcised a few ghosts, so to speak, on her soul stirring 2018 EP Demons, Eden Iris is finally set to release her debut album next year. It’s been an age since the now LA-based, singer-songwriter first came to national attention through Mike Chunn’s Play It Strange competition.
Lou'ana - Album Review: Moonlight Madness
29 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
The official release date for Lou'ana's debut album is October 30. Whether by design or accident, it’s serendipitous.
Raw Collective - Single Review: Good Things (All We Need)
22 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Feel-good grooves are part of Raw Collective’s DNA. The Wellington-based 10-piece have been sowing sunflower seeds of optimism and cheerfulness for many a year now and it seems the well of goodness never dries.
Naircol - Album Review: Isolate
16 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Naircol is Tauranga-based synthesiser whizz Matt Hennessey. I like that it is an anagram of clarion because this is quite the impressive calling card.
Bartells - EP Review: Let's Go
08 Oct 2020 // by Mike Alexander
Sam Bartells has a way with words. In an interview with Darryl Baser from Muzic.
View All Articles By Mike Alexander

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Olivia Rodrigo
    Lil Tjay feat. 6LACK
    Glass Animals
    Niko Walters
    Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby
    The Kid LAROI
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem